Just slightly more than one-fourth of those pieces of legislation were passed, including seven of the 11 that were supported by ASBSD, and 62 bills and one resolution were defeated. Here’s a rundown of key legislation passed or killed.
- Senate Bill 59: Provides the 6 percent increase in state aid and special education and revises the property tax levies for school districts. ASBSD supported the bill, which passed Joint Appropriations and both chambers with only 3 nay votes before being signed into law. The 6 percent increase sets the state’s target teacher salary at $55,756.31, lowered all three property tax levies and raised the allocations for each special education disability level.
- Senate Bill 95: Changes the timeline for the Teacher Compensation Review Board to meet from every 3 years to every 2 years. ASBSD supported the bill as it will provide more up-to-date data related to teacher pay and openings that will in turn expediate policy changes. TCRB will meet again in 2023. Through its trip in the legislature the bill saw only 3 nay votes.
- House Bill 1080: Extends the average teacher compensation targets until the 2023-24 school year. HB 1080, which ASBSD monitored, reinstates the previous requirement in law that a district’s average teacher compensation must exceed the level established in 2016-17 for both the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years. The bill faced very little opposition with only the House Education vote of 8-6 being close.
- House Bill 1119: Multiplies 0.10 by the number of homeschool children who are participating in interscholastic activities to the fall enrollment count for the state aid formula. The bill will use the number of homeschool students who participated in the previous school year to calculate the funding a district receives. ASBSD supported HB 1119, which did see some resistance in committee and floor voting before ultimately reaching the Governor’s desk.
- House Bill 1308: Provides for the payment of signing bonuses to school district staff members. ASBSD supported HB 1308 with Executive Director Wade Pogany saying schools welcomed “any flexibility that we can get today to help us with workforce needs.” Legislators agreed with the sentiment as the bill saw only four nay votes before reaching Gov. Noem for signature.
- House Bill 1340: Appropriates funds for the state general fund. While Senate Bill 59 was conduit for the 6 percent increase in state aid, HB 1340 carried the funding for it through the dollars it appropriates to the state’s general fund. ASBSD supported the bill, which passed the House on a 59-10 vote and the Senate on a 31-1 vote.
- House Bill 1111: Permits referral of a school board resolution by voters related to health and safety of students and staff. HB 1111 was opposed by ASBSD with Pogany noting it would have “unintended consequences” as it would allow “virtually anything that has to do with health and safety” to be referred including school safety policies, athletic policies and bullying policies among others. The bill was defeated in committee on a 10-3 vote.
- House Bill 1163: Allows students who are 5-years-old by September 30 and have passed a screening process to be enrolled in kindergarten. The bill reached its final vote before potentially heading to the Governor, but fell on a 10-25 vote in the Senate. Sen. Jim Bolin said HB 1163 would “start opening up a can of worms” and “a good solid date…for the vast majority of people” was “the best way to go.” ASBSD was monitoring the bill.
- House Bill 1198: Requires the display of the state seal in all public school buildings. After passing the House on a 41-27 vote, the bill fell in the Senate State Affairs committee on a 9-0 vote. ASBSD opposed HB 1198 as Pogany told committee members “There’s no problem that we’re solving here” while Rep. Phil Jensen made the unsupported claim that “private schools tend to do that sort of thing” when it came to posting the motto and that’s why it didn’t include them.
- House Bill 1246: Establishes fundamental rights to make decisions concerning children lies with parents. Another bill that succeeded in the House, but fell in Senate committee, HB 1246 slipped in Judiciary on a 6-1 vote. Pogany testified in opposition that “law should give us direction. I’m not sure this gives (schools) direction one way or another.”
- House Bill 1261: Establishes emergency retire-rehire provisions for the South Dakota Retirement System. ASBSD supported the bill, which fell 10-3 in its only committee hearing, with Pogany noting schools are looking for “every teacher that we can find” as job openings have increased in recent years, but opponents argued it would potentially jeopardize the SDRS system.
- House Bill 1300: Requires school district elections be held on dates specified by the legislature. Just like House Bill 1163, HB 1300 reached its last vote in the legislature before being defeated on 16-19 vote in the Senate. ASBSD opposed the bill with Pogany citing the potential for “unintended consequences” such as potential for “confusion at the polls” and lining school board elections, which are nonpartisan, with partisan elections.
- House Bill 1327: Reduces the half-cent tax rate on certain products and Appropriates funds for repeals the Partridge Amendment. Senate State Affairs members voted 8-1 to defeat HB 1327, which had made it across the Capitol hall after a 39-31 vote in the House. ASBSD opposed the bill with Pogany testifying the Partridge Amendment target hadn’t been met yet so the law was not being violated and long-term the state may not be able to sustain without the revenue.
- House Bill 1337: Dictates curriculum and prohibits other actions in schools. Senate Education committee members voted 4-3 to defeat the bill, which was opposed by ASBSD. Pogany said HB 1337 is “not clear” what “the divisive concepts are and what they can teach and what they cannot.” An Executive Order was issued on the matter, but the main focus of it was on the Department of Education reviewing many different polices and materials.
- Senate Bill 139: Creates a community-based school utilizing state funds. ASBSD opposed SB 139 with Pogany citing schools “can do this today” with districts having created immersion schools with similar direction and the bill would “set precedent” by setting up “completely private schools (with) their own governing board” utilizing public dollars with little oversight locally. SB 139 was defeated in House Education on an 8-4 vote after passing the Senate 22-13.
- Senate Bill 198: Establishes an interim committee regarding alternatives for placement of juvenile offenders. The bill was kicked back and forth between the chambers changing from a nearly full repeal of the current juvenile justice statute to an interim study on the system before it ultimately failed to come to a compromise in conference committee and was lost. ASBSD supported SB 198, which has been somewhat revived in the legislature as it will receive an interim study committee this summer.