Howling and bitter northwest winds couldn’t keep the House of Representatives from adopting two education-related resolutions on Thursday.
Representatives voted 49-18 to adopted House Concurrent Resolution 1002, which acknowledges the teacher shortage and the difficulties districts in South Dakota face in attracting and retaining qualified teachers.
“The resolution brings awareness to the legislature and the public,” Rep. Jacqueline Sly said in support of the resolution.
Rep. Sly chaired the 2013 interim committee that studied school funding, which introduced the resolutions. She said the scope of the study did not call for the introduction of a bill by the committee, but testimony from school officials during the study supported a resolution.
“(School officials) actually had a fear of teachers retiring because they didn’t know if they could find a qualified (replacement),” Rep. Kathy Tyler, an interim committee member, said about a recurring theme in testimony from the study.
Fellow committee member, Rep. Don Haggar said the resolution held “a plot assumption” that teachers were leaving South Dakota for neighboring states and better pay that he did not agree with and therefore could not support it.
Rep. Anne Hajek, also on the interim committee, urged her fellow representatives to support the resolution to make the statement that “teachers are an extremely valuable resource” in South Dakota.
The House adopted a second resolution with considerably less resistance.
HCR 1001, which encourages districts to build on their individual strengths by working together with other districts to provide a rich educational opportunity for all students, was adopted on a 68-0 vote.
Rep. Sly said the resolution “recognizes the need for education opportunities” for students in all school districts.