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February15

Morning moves by committees

Pilot Program passed on

 

House Education committee members passed House Bill 1183 on an 8-7 vote this morning. The action comes after the bill was deferred on Wednesday and now moves to House Appropriations.

 

HB 1183 calls for the appropriation of funds to put a computer and Internet access into the homes of preschool aged children to prepare them for school. Children would spend 15-20 minutes per day working on interactive, educational programs on the computer.

 

Currently, $1 is attached to the bill as it relates to funding, but bill sponsor Rep. Jacqueline Sly (33) said the dollar amount supplied would dictate the number of participants. She said funding for the program would be ongoing. Funding for the bill would be appropriated from the general fund.

 

On Friday, Rep. Kathy Tyler (4) called the bill “a good idea” but said supporting these projects ignored the bigger issue in K-12 education, lack of continuing funds.

 

“We need to fix what we’ve broken before we add the extras,” Tyler said.

 

ASBSD opposes the bill.

 

House to hear Common Core bill

 

House Bill 1204, which Requires Board of Education to seek legislative approval before implementing any Common Core Standards, will have its day on the House floor after House Education committee members passed it 8-7 this morning.

 

The bill would not affect the math and reading standards, adopted by the Board of Education in 2010 and set for implementation by the Department of Education in 2014, but would require any further standards be approved by the legislature, which could impede their progress.

 

Executive Director Wade Pogany told committee members school board delegates voted unanimously to support Common Core at ASBSD’s Delegate Assembly in November because the standards establish national benchmarks helping students succeed in an advanced society.

 

“We want our South Dakota kids to compete in a global economy,” Pogany said.

 

Opponents of Common Core testified the standards are trying to fix standards that are not broken or are pushing agendas not favoring education.

 

Secretary of Education Melody Schopp argued the standards have been studied extensively and the DOE and Board of Education did not rush “into this work.” Rep. Timothy Johns (31) echoed the statement.

 

“This matter’s been studied and studied and studied and we’re going to sit here in 30 minutes and decide,” Johns said.

 

ASBSD is opposed to the bill.

 

Benefits bills moves on

 

Senate Local Government committee members passed (4-2) a bill that would require the publication of local government employees be published online or in the designated newspaper annually.

 

Senate Bill 180 would list the total dollar amount paid to employees for the employer’s share of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), retirement, any nonprofessional membership fee, and the average amount paid per employee or officer for health insurance.

 

“It allows taxpayers… to know what the services they’re paying for cost them,” Bill sponsor Sen. Corey Brown (23) said.

 

An amendment to include state employees under the new publication requirement was not passed, but committee members suggested the amendment be rewritten and introduced on the floor.

 

ASBSD is opposed to the bill.

 

For updates on these and other bills, check the ASBSD blog and bill tracker.

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