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February27

Action deferred on financial incentive flexibility bill

Action was deferred by the House Education committee until next week on Senate Bill 132, which would allow districts leeway to offer a signing bonus, moving expenses, or tuition reimbursement to a teacher employed in the school district.

 

Committee members heard testimony on the bill, which was passed in the Senate on a 26-7 vote two weeks ago, at Friday’s (2/27) meeting.

 

“School boards are simply asking for flexibility (in negotiations),” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said. ASBSD supports the bill.

 

Pogany said the bill would not take away the negotiating rights of teachers, but rather is a “creative way” for school boards to attract and retain teachers, which with the shrinking teacher pool, has become increasingly difficult.

 

School Administrators of South Dakota and the Department of Education joined ASBSD and Rep. Jacqueline Sly, the bill’s prime sponsor, in supporting testimony of SB 132.

 

The South Dakota Education Association was the lone opponent to the bill. SDEA Government Relations/Communications Director Sandra Waltman said there was no objection to the financial incentives presented in the bill and that the association “understood the desire to give school boards” flexibility to attract and retain teachers, but disagreed with the bill’s negotiation provisions.

 

Committee members approved an amendment inserting interpretable language in the negotiation of the financial incentives.

 

ASBSD opposed the amendment. Pogany said the amendment has the potential to muddy the proverbial negotiation waters based on how each side infers what is negotiable and what is not.

 

“We want to make (statute) crystal clear,” Pogany said. “We need to have some commonality in practice.”

 

ASBSD supported an amendment to the bill, introduced in the Senate, removing the clause allowing districts to match or exceed a contract offer made to a teacher in their district from another entity without having to reopen negotiations.

 

SB 132 is on the House Education committee’s agenda for the meeting scheduled on Wednesday, March 4. For updates on the bill, check the ASBSD Blog, Bill Tracker page and Twitter feed.

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