The Board of Education recognized two Project Lead the Way programs at its meeting last month. Congratulations to Canton and Sioux Falls for earning PLTW certification!
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Preparing for new laws to take effect

When July 1, 2011, arrives, several new laws will impact school districts in South Dakota. Below is a quick review of a few of them. Click here for a more complete list of education-related bills passed by the 2011 Legislature.

Student-athletes and concussions
Under SB 149, there are new requirements related to youth athletes, their parents and suspected concussions. There is also a new training requirement for coaches participating in South Dakota High School Activities Association-sanctioned events. View the full text of SB 149 to find out what is required under the new law.

The activities association website has a variety of information and sample forms related to this topic. Click here or call SDHSAA at (605) 224-9261.

Homeschool exemption
Under HB 1133, an exemption for alternative instruction is effective immediately upon filing with the school district. No school board action is required. An exemption may still be revoked later, per existing statutes. The Department of Education will be posting a new public school exemption form online soon.

Jump Start Scholarship
HB 1175 created the Jump Start Scholarship. The purpose of the program is to allow a student who graduates from a public high school in three years or less to receive a scholarship funded with a portion of the money saved by the state in state aid to education funding, as a result of the student’s early graduation. View HB 1175 to see the details of the scholarship.

For more information, contact the South Dakota Board of Regents at (605) 773-3455.

School counselors
Dubbed the “truth in advertising bill,” HB 1070 requires that if a districts employs a school counselor – on a full-time, part-time or contractual basis – that individual must be certified. It takes not take effect until July 1, 2016. The bill does not mandate that every district employ a school counselor.

Annual report deadline
HB 1080 gives districts additional time to complete and submit their annual report. Under the old law, an annual report was considered past due, and subject to penalty, if not filed prior to Aug. 15. Under the new law, the deadline will be Aug. 30.

Background checks, bus driver training and more
HB 1208 covered a range of topics, from district employees footing the bill for their own background checks to a change in the bus driver training requirement. View the full text of HB 1208 here.

Capital outlay extension
Under SB 111, school districts may continue to use their capital outlay fund to cover property and casualty insurance, energy and utilities costs, and fuel and transportation costs for another two years. The new sunset date is June 30, 2014.