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April23

Key components of K-12 will get long-term study

A little more than a month after committing funding above three percent to K-12 schools, the legislature is committing a two-year study to education.

 

Members of the Legislative Executive Board voted 13-0 to assign an in-depth study of K-12 education to the Legislative Planning Committee.

 

The planning committee will focus on a wide array of topics including, the education funding formula, the revenue, expenditures and accounting practices for education, salary needs, budget reserves and tax levies. Executive board members noted the scope of the study could be adjusted during its duration.

 

“Legislative planning committee, you’ve got your marching orders,” Executive Board Chair Sen. Ryan Maher said following the study’s approval.

 

Honing in those orders to focus on key K-12 components was crucial for the executive board.

 

“We’ve done so many education studies,” Sen. Phyllis Heineman said. “If we’re going to do a two-year study… (we) really need to do some serious strategic thinking.”

 

During the 2013 legislative interim, a committee was charged with studying school funding and was key in advancing the conversation between legislators and school officials on the current state of school funding, but ultimately did not result in any passed legislation.

 

A fact not lost on executive board members.

 

“This (topic) is something we cannot handle in a summery study,” Sen. Deb Soholt said. Sen. Craig Tieszen added that politically charged topics – like school funding – are difficult for summer studies to undertake.

 

Executive board members did not vote for an education topic to be part of a summer study this year.

 

Instead, beginning during the 2014 legislative interim, the Legislative Planning Committee will begin their work on examining many important facets of K-12 education.

 

Because the planning committee’s study spans two years committee members may change based on 2014 election results. The current 11-member committee consists of:

  • Rep. Scott Munsterman, Chair
  • Sen. Mike Vehle, Vice Chair
  • Sen. Corey Brown
  • Rep. Kristin  Conzet
  • Rep. Brian Gosch
  • Sen. Tom Jones
  • Sen. Ryan Maher
  • Sen. Bruce Rampelberg
  • Rep. Jacqueline Sly
  • Sen. Billie Sutton
  • Rep. Susan Wismer

The first meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 16 at 10 a.m. in Pierre. ASBSD will provide updates on the planning committee’s activities as they become available. For information check the ASBSD Blog.

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