New school system bill soars through Senate

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New school system bill soars through Senate

There was no resistance on a bill creating a new school system in South Dakota as it crossed the Capitol hall.


Senators voted 35-0 in favor of Senate Bill 66, which creates and funds Oceti Sakowin community-based schools.


Sen. Troy Heinert said the bill “let’s parents work with the district and provide an education model…in a culturally appropriate way.”


SB 66 would allow the proposed school to seek sponsorship with a school district, enter into a contract specifying further details and add the school to the state aid fall enrollment count. Any sponsoring school district would be responsible for providing special education and Titles I, II, and IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act services.


The bill also permits the state Board of Education Standards to promulgate many different rules related to the Oceti Sakowin community-based school, including what can be done if a district denies an application. The bill also sets the total number of community-based schools at a maximum of four.


ASBSD opposes the bill due to concerns with the governance structure and the funding model.


The sponsoring school district has oversight of the community-based school, which could establish a separate board to run the Oceti Sakowin school in their governance plan, and has no clear definition what an appeal process would look like if a district denies a community-based school application.


In addition, the bill still notes “a sponsoring school district shall forward to the Oceti Sakowin community-based school that portion of the total funding received by the district…” and does not clearly state that only the state aid portion of school funding will be shared with community-based school.


SB 66 is now in House Education for review and vote.


For updates on the bill and others going the process in the 2020 legislative session, check ASBSD’s Bill Tracker page or Blog page.

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