Here’s a look at some of the bills the department has been following so far this session. You can access these, and all other bills, at http://legis.state.sd.us/ Click on “Current Legislative Session.”
HB 1050 and 1051
HB 1050 represents the Governor’s proposal to hold the per-student allocation steady for FY 11. HB 1051 holds the payments for special education disability levels steady as well.
This bill calls for a 0 percent increase to education for FY 11 but ties future education funding to the same level as increases in the state’s general fund revenues – with some limitations.
This bill allows for a fund balance cap of 40 percent through FY 14. For FY 15 and beyond, the maximum fund balance allowed is 25 percent. The bill also prohibits a district from growing its fund balance between FY 11 and FY 15.
This bill eliminates the one-time payment to school districts with increasing enrollment by changing the fall enrollment count to the number of students enrolled in a district in the current school year. Schools would be paid in real time for students. The bill has a delayed implementation; it would not take effect until July 1, 2013.
This bill repeals two-year averaging in the current state aid formula. Two-year averaging was instituted several years ago to soften the blow of declining enrollment.
HB 1150 changes the way the small school adjustment is handled in the case of students who open enroll.
This bill takes money from the Education Enhancement Trust Fund to provide a 1.2 percent increase to schools for FY 11. The money borrowed would be paid back with interest once the state’s general fund revenues bounce back.
HB 1020 and 1021
The department’s two bills dealing with expending special education dollars look to be on course for passage by both Houses. HB 1020 allows districts to transfer local SPED funds in an amount not greater than 50 of its annual increase in federal IDEA dollars to any other fund. The funds can be used to carry out any activities allowable under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
HB 1021 allows districts to credit any federal SPED dollars to either the Special Education Fund or the Capital Outlay Fund for any SPED-related equipment purchase approved by the Department of Education.
Teaching standards and evaluation
In its current form, SB 24 requires that public schools evaluate the performance of each certified teacher in years one through three not less than annually, and each teacher in the fourth contract year or beyond, not less than every other year. The bill also establishes a work group to develop teaching standards and a model evaluation tool.
A bill to change the compulsory attendance age back to 16 – HB 1168 – has been filed. It is expected to come before the House Education Committee soon.
A bill to revise the Opportunity Scholarship requirements – HB 1190 – passed out of House Education. The bill brings the scholarship requirements in line with the graduation requirements passed by the South Dakota Board of Education in November 2009. The bill also allows students to take world language or approved career and technical education courses to be eligible for the scholarship.
SB 191 is a bill to establish a more uniform system of pre-kindergarten programs in South Dakota.
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