Legislative comm. endorses community-based school bill

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Legislative comm. endorses community-based school bill

A bill attempting to create a new school system that was defeated last session will be back next year after receiving the support of the State-Tribal Relations committee.


On a 10-0 vote, the committee endorsed the draft of the bill, which will create and fund Oceti Sakowin community-based schools. A similar bill was defeated during the 2020 legislative session when the House Education killed it on a 9-5 vote after it had passed the full Senate.


Proponent of the bill Sarah Pierce of the South Dakota Education Equity Coalition told committee members the group was “planning to reintroduce last year’s bill.”


Despite testimony that the same bill from previous session will be introduced, Sen. Troy Heinert said proponents are “tightening up language” and “reaching out to any opponents” from the previous version of the bill.


ASBSD, along with other groups and school districts, opposed last session’s bill due to concerns with the governance structure, the funding model and the unknown implications that could be included in the rule promulgation process and this fall member school districts approved resolution B3. Charter Schools or Other School Systems, which states:


“ASBSD opposes any new legislation that creates charter schools or a similar school system that would require the use of any state or federal funds in order to operate.”


The current bill draft does require any sponsoring school district to “forward to the Oceti Sakowin community-based school that portion of the total funding received by the district…that equals the percentage of the district’s student who are enrolled in the Oceti Sakowin community-based school.”


In addition, the bill draft outlines conditions for approval by a local school board, but no denial process if the local district does not wish to approve the school, aside from the Oceti Sakowin community-based school being located outside the boundaries of a school district.


Proponents of the bill Matthew Kull told committee members “there are two individuals who are poised” to open Oceti Sakowin community-based schools should a bill draft pass with Pierce noting those districts would include Todd County and Rapid City.


ASBSD will provide a position on the bill draft once it is official introduced.


For updates from the 2021 legislative session, check the ASBSD Blog.

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