Frederick, Faulkton voters approve school district opt outs

(AberdeenInsider)- Voters in the Frederick and Faulkton school districts approved out outs of state limits on property taxes during Tuesday, April 9 elections.

The Frederick opt out is for $450,000 for five years. A $200,000 opt out expires this year, according to information from the district.

The vote was 85-67 in favor. In the Frederick precinct, there were 60 yes votes and 40 no. The proposal was less popular in the smaller Westport district where the vote was 27-25.

A prime reason for the opt out is to increase teacher pay. Senate Bill 127, approved by the South Dakota Legislature this year, sets a minimum teacher salary of $45,000 beginning Jan. 1, 2026.

The base teacher salary in the Frederick district is now $41,500, according to information from the school district.

In the Faulkton district, voters approved a $650,000 five-year opt out by a 384-241 margin.

A $450,000 five-year opt out was initially put in place in 2014 and renewed in 2019, according to information from the school district. It expires this year. Reasons a higher total was requested this year include inflation and that the district has grown by 79 students — 26% — since 2015.

The amount local government entities like school districts can increase property tax collections from one year to the next is capped at 3% or the rate of inflation, whichever is less, plus growth. An opt out is when a local government “opts-out” of that state-imposed limit.