Schools recognized for commitment to health
Three South Dakota schools and one school district have been selected as winners of Governor Mike Rounds’ Healthy School Awards.

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Legislative preview 2010

What's on the docket for education bills this session? Standards for teachers, charter schools, and practical changes designed to make your life easier - to name a few.

Here's a look at the bills the department will forward during the 2010 legislative session.

SB 24 would establish standards for teachers - defining expected performance at three levels: beginning teachers, professional teachers and instructional leaders. The bill would require districts seeking accreditation to evaluate the performance of certified teachers on an annual basis. It also calls for a work group to develop the standards and a model evaluation tool.

SB 63 would allow for the establishment of charter schools in South Dakota. However, only a local school board could approve or deny an application to establish a charter school within its boundaries. The only exception would be a pilot charter school for American Indian students that could be established contingent upon funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's Race to the Top program.

The "50 percent rule" bill (HB 1020) would allow districts to transfer local SPED funds in an amount not greater than 50 percent of its annual increase in federal IDEA dollars to any other fund. The funds could be used to carry out any activities allowable under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Another proposed SPED-related bill (HB 1021) would allow districts to credit any federal SPED dollars to either the Special Education fund or the Capital Outlay fund for any equipment purchase approved by the Department of Education.

With HB 1024, the department will seek to remove the requirement for districts to keep a hard copy of each teacher's certificate on file at the district level. Instead, districts would be able to verify the validity of a teacher's certificate by confirming it through the department's online certification database (known as Teacher 411 and available online 24/7).

Other DOE-sponsored bills include:
HB 1023 Revise requirements for makeup time
SB 22 Establish fund for Birth to Three donations
SB 23 Eliminate two-year delay of certain rule changes that increase teacher certification fees
SB 25 Transferring students and state aid