New school system bill sent to Senate floor

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New school system bill sent to Senate floor

After three committee hearings, an amended version of a bill creating a new school system reached the Senate floor.


Senate Education committee members voted 7-0 in favor of Senate Bill 66, which creates and funds Oceti Sakowin community-based schools.


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 amended version of 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.


And while noted by Sen. Troy Heinert that “we’re only talking about the state aid portion” of funding being taken from the sponsoring school district and provided to the community-based school, 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…”


ASBSD remains opposed to the bill with Executive Director Wade Pogany maintaining the Association is concerned with the governance structure and the funding.


“What bothers me…is the uncertainty about governance in the plan and what that means and what that looks like,” Pogany shared with committee members. “I just don’t have a clear view of what this looks like.”


Pogany noted that the bill notes 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.


“I’m not sure what two school boards running a school would look like,” Pogany said.


SB 66 now heads to the Senate floor for review and vote.


For updates on the bill and other legislation related to education, check ASBSD’s Bill Tracker page or Blog page.

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