Two bills were deferred to the 41st day by the Senate Education committee on Thursday, which marked the final time this session the committee will hold bill hearings.
Under ‘100’ option falls in close vote
HB 1213 called for a reduction in state aid and eliminated the small school adjustment for a school district with an enrollment under 100, if the district does not reorganize in the two-year window currently allotted by state law. ASBSD was opposed to the bill.
“We want (low enrollment districts) to reorganize or have joint powers (agreements),” Executive Director Wade Pogany said.
ASBSD supports Senate Bill 96, which allows school districts to remain open and receive full funding if they are exercising joint powers agreement with other districts. Districts could share teachers, courses or curriculums among other services while students remain in their home district.
Pogany noted SB 96 provided a more well-rounded option for districts and passing both bills would “create more confusion” of the available options for smaller districts.
Rep. Charlie Hoffman (23), HB 1213’s sponsor, praised SB 96 as the “golden Cadillac” option for small, rural school districts because it keeps rural schools open and requires collaboration among districts.
“We all want to see more cooperation between smaller, rural schools,” Rep. Hoffman said.
SB 96 has passed both legislative bodies and is awaiting Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s signature.
No more questions on Common Core bill
On a 6-1 vote, committee members deferred a bill that would have required the Board of Education to seek legislative approval before implementing any additional Common Core Standards.
House Bill 1204 would not have repealed the math and reading standards approved by the BOE in 2010 and set for implementation in 2014. In his testimony, Pogany mentioned the needless requirement the bill attempted to address.
“(Math and reading Common Core) standards are already here. There are no more standards,” Pogany said. “This isn’t an up or down vote on Common Core. This bill has no purpose.”
Proponents of the bill argued Common Core is trying to fix standards that are not broken, pushing agendas not favoring education and placing decision making power in the hands of an unelected board.
Sen. Mark Johnston (12), the committee chair, said he believed the decision making power on Common Core should be left to the BOE.
“The strategy is best held in the hands of the Board of Education,” Sen. Johnston said.
ASBSD opposed the bill.
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