The South Dakota Catholic Conference supports Senate Bill 175, a bill to ensure South Dakota’s tax-credit K12 scholarship program is open to all children meeting need-based qualifications, regardless of age. Program criteria currently restricts some students’ entry in the program to certain grade-levels, which makes some otherwise income-qualifying families ineligible. As the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council taught, “Parents who have the primary and inalienable right and duty to educate their children must enjoy true liberty in their choice of schools. Consequently, the public power, which has the obligation to protect and defend the rights of citizens, must see to it, in its concern for distributive justice, that public subsidies are paid out in such a way that parents are truly free to choose according to their conscience the schools they want for their children.” (Gravissimum Educationis, 6.) South Dakota’s program relies on donations for which a tax-credit is offered and is not strictly speaking a subsidy, yet in keeping with this teaching, Senate Bill 175 ensures that parents who otherwise lack true freedom due to limited economic means might have access to a scholarship program to aid them in sending their children to a school of their choosing.

Categories: 2021 Session