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For Immediate Release: March 31, 2009
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

State Board of Education focuses on technical institutes

The South Dakota Board of Education focused its attention on South Dakota’s four technical institutes during its meeting yesterday.

The board heard from the Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education Director Mark Wilson regarding a number of budgetary issues and new or expanding program requests.

The board agreed to set tuition for the upcoming fiscal year at $84 per credit hour, up from $78.

The board also moved to establish a Maintenance and Repair fee, which would go into an account to take care of major maintenance and repair needs down the road. The new fee would be $2 per credit hour. Total state fees, which include a facilities fee along with the Maintenance and Repair fee, and tuition costs come to an even $100 per credit hour.

“After talking with Southeast Technical Institute president Jeff Holcomb, that figure is still lower than other schools locally in the Sioux Falls area,” Wilson said.

The board also approved a new program request from Wilson on behalf of Western Dakota Technical Institute in Rapid City. The move allows Western Dakota to create a partnership with the Hot Rod Institute. Students enrolled in the program at WDT would graduate from the Hot Rod Institute and receive an associate’s degree from WDT upon completion.

WDT also will expand its Information Technology program, to allow for dual credit for high school students in the surrounding areas. Wilson presented a letter of support from the superintendent of Rapid City schools.

“This also creates a great opportunity for several of the businesses in the area,” Wilson said. “Businesses may benefit from student interns and a growing, specialized workforce.”

The state’s four technical institutes are Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, Mitchell Technical Institute in Mitchell, Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls, and Western Dakota Technical Institute in Rapid City.

Due to inclement weather, the state Board of Education held an abbreviated meeting via teleconference. During the board’s next meeting, Wilson will present a vision for the state’s technical institutes, updates on placement reports and facility planning, as well as program updates and requests.