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July17

Minor Boundary Task Force reviews draft legislation

Members of the South Dakota Legislature’s Minor Boundary Task Force convened on July 9 for their second meeting.

 

The task force was established with the passage of Senate Bill 134 and charged to examine district boundaries and recommend possible changes to boundaries and a process for addressing minor boundary changes. SB 134 also set a one-year moratorium on minor boundary changes.

 

At the latest meeting task force members reviewed and discussed possible legislation.

 

Draft legislation proposed the elimination of the current procedure allowing minor boundary changes to be initiated by landowners when less than two percent of the total school district valuation would be affected.

 

The current statutory authority for school boards to initiate a minor boundary change with another school district was maintained in the draft, with some modifications.

 

A minor boundary change initiated by school boards would require a land exchange between the two school districts and would be subject to public vote.

 

Task force members recommended draft legislation include clarification that school boards may choose not to consider a request for a minor boundary change and a decision not to consider a request or give final approval to a minor boundary change is not subject to appeal.

 

The location of attendance centers within the boundaries of neighboring school districts was also discussed. Task Force members were informed there is nothing in statute or administrative rules explicitly prohibiting a school district from having an attendance center located within the boundaries of another school district.

 

It was noted legislation may be warranted to prohibit a school district from having an attendance center located in another school district.

 

The task force also discussed the existence of a portion of one school district located entirely within the geographic boundaries of another school district, and whether a recommendation should be made by the task force related to school district “islands in order to eliminate them.

 

Sen. Deb Peters noted the Task Force was required to review and discuss the issue, but a recommendation related to changing boundary lines was not required.

 

Information was presented related to neighboring state statutes of school district minor boundary changes, as well.

 

Review of statutes from Minnesota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Iowa and North Dakota revealed all neighboring states, except Iowa, have some type of minor boundary change process.

 

The task force will hold its next meeting via conference call on August 25 beginning at 2 p.m. and will review modifications to proposed legislation and possible legislation related to attendance centers located outside the school district.

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