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Letter from the Secretary
SD Department of Education Feb. 2016  

2016 Legislative Session in full swing

State Capitol Building

Education funding and teacher pay are taking center stage this session, along with several other education-related bills. Here’s a summary of bills the Department of Education is following.

Senate Education
SB 5 is the bill to revise procedures to initiate a school district boundary change. The bill passed out of Senate Ed.

SB 63 requires schools to have safety plans in place and to conduct an annual lockdown drill. It passed out of Senate Ed.

SB 81 is a result of recommendations by the Native American Student Achievement Advisory Council. It would create a paraprofessional tuition assistance scholarship program for a small number of paraprofessionals currently working in eligible districts. The program would end when funding runs out in four years. The bill passed Senate Ed.

SB 82 is a result of recommendations by the Native American Student Achievement Advisory Council. It would establish the Native American achievement schools grant. The grant would allow for the start-up of up to three pilot schools aimed at improving academic outcomes for Native students, with a focus on infusing language and culture into the educational experience. The bill passed Senate Ed.

SB 9 contains an appropriation of $2.2 million for the programs outlined in SB 81 and 82. These are one-time funds. The bill was sent to Appropriations.

SB 69 would require accredited schools to accept transfer credits for courses taken by students from other accredited schools during the summer.

SB 83 is titled "An act to protect the teaching of certain scientific information."

HB 1008 is the bill to restrict access to certain rest rooms/locker rooms in public schools. It has passed the full House and has been referred to Senate Ed.

House Education
HB 1096 is a testing opt out bill. It would allow a parent/guardian to exempt their student from taking the state assessment. The bill is scheduled for hearing in House Education on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Two other bills – HB 1061 and HB 1111 – are scheduled for hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 3 as well. The first would provide a tuition benefit to certain teachers who enroll in certain courses offered by Board of Regents institutions; the second would require the South Dakota High School Activities Association to promulgate major policy statements through the administrative rules process.

Other interesting bills that have been sent to House Education include: HB 1147, which would prohibit schools from using school or team names that are determined to be racially derogatory or discriminatory, and HB 1148, which requires schools to provide instruction on South Dakota’s tribal history, culture and government.


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