Here is a breakdown of a few bills ASBSD is tracking, with the blue text being links to additional webpages with more information, that have been defeated this session:
Senate Bill 57: Revises the eligibility of homeschool students for participation in school district activities. ASBSD supported the bill, which was defeated in the Senate Education committee on a 5-2 vote.
SB 57’s aim was to clarify the conflicting opinions between public schools, education groups and SD Council of School Attorneys and state Department of Education that homeschool students cannot open enroll for the sole purpose of participating in an activity.
The bill would have codified a homeschool student’s ability to participate in an activity in the public school district in which they reside, but could not utilize open enrollment solely to “participate in an interscholastic activity sponsored by” SDHSAA.
ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany testified “the purpose of open enrollment” is for attendance purposes and not for students to “pick and choose” what they want to do, including enrolling solely for activity purposes as that was not the intent of the legislation brought in 2021 changing homeschool statute.
“Sen. Steinhauer said that is not the intent,” Pogany noted about the prime sponsor of the 2021 legislation. “You’re not allowed to stay in your home district and then say, ‘I’m going to open enroll for that activity.”
Homeschool parent Jennifer Bevin said “when you open enroll as a homeschooler you’re taking stock of all the districts around you” and “you may participate in sports” without taking classes.
“We just want the right to fully open enroll,” Bevin said, “and still be a homeschooler.”
Pogany testified “you have that process in place” to remove a school board member for the legal reasons listed in the bill already through state statute 3-17-6 and if there’s a disagreement between the community and a board member “there’s a perfect recall for that, they’re called elections.”
“The traditions in graduation ceremonies are as local as you get. This should be a local decision,” Pogany said. “The state should not be in the business of regulating graduation ceremonies.”
“When it comes to mandating the ceremony, that’s where we said we need to keep this a local thing.”
Sen. Shawn Bordeaux said the “the intent is to mandate” the playing, but he understood “it’s really hard to put this into law.”
“Some school boards have to had to jettison projects because costs are too high,” Pogany told committee members, adding “with inflation costs in the past two years” rising so high bids are “20, 30, sometimes 40 percent” higher than were in previous years.
House Bill 1163: Requires a school board to adopt a policy related library materials and imposes a penalty if they fail to do so. ASBSD opposed the bill, which was defeated in the House Education committee on a 9-3 vote.
Pogany noted most schools have policy on library review, as well as parental complaint and thus the bill is unnecessary because it negates local control, which was a point Rep. Phil Jensen argued wasn’t an applicable concept.
“When it comes to local control, that’s a red herring,” Rep. Jensen told fellow committee members. “I’d encourage you to ignore the issue of local control.”
Pogany held firm the belief the school board as “elected officials, like” legislators had the trust of the public to deem what is appropriate material to be in their schools.
“The bottom line stops with school boards,” Pogany said. “The school board will make the decision.”