A number of school districts have been contacting the DOE inquiring about the possibility of charging for preschool.

The DOE believes there is no legal authority that would authorize schools to charge for preschool. Given the constitutional provision in Article VIII Section I, SDCL 13-28-5, and the fact that 13-28-35 contains a specific provision allowing districts to charge for adult education programs, it seems a statutory change would be necessary to allow districts to charge for preschool. This, of course, does not constitute a legal opinion and districts should consult their own legal counsel on such matters.

Another question posed was what would happen to districts that did charge for preschool. School district auditors would determine whether they believe a particular situation constitutes noncompliance with state law and could include an audit finding in the audit report if they believed it is appropriate.


13-28-22. Tuition charged for students not entitled to free school privileges of district. All nursery, kindergarten, elementary, and secondary students not entitled to the free school privileges of the district wherein they are enrolled may be charged tuition.

13-28-35. Tuition charges for adult education program. A school district operating an adult education program may charge tuition as determined by the school board, subject to the provisions of chapter 13-39.

13-29-19. Fee for students within five miles--Amount. A school district may charge a nominal fee for providing school bus transportation services to students whose residence is less than five miles from the school. The fee authorized by this section may be charged only to those parents who request school bus transportation services for their children. The amount of the fee shall be established by the local school board.

13-8-39.2. Authority to provide day-care for children of enrolled students. The school board may provide day-care services to the children of enrolled students and may charge a fee therefor.

13-8-50. After school programming for school children--Fee. The school board may provide before and after school programming for children who are of school age and are enrolled in a school within the district and may charge a fee therefor.
Charging For Preschool Services
Spring 2011