Three very different education related issues reached the House floor on Monday (2/10).
HB 1152 would provide a $1,500 reimbursement – paid by the S.D. Department of Education – to school districts who have an employee complete the Sentinel program training up to a total annual amount of $45,000 being able to be distributed.
Secretary of Education Ben Jones testified in opposition to the bill, noting the proposed dollars are earmarked as Title IV funds and using it for the reimbursement “might get us in trouble” or “run afoul of proper use of the Title IV funds.”
The bill would allow parents of children who turn 5-years-old before December 31 of that current school year to complete a “developmental and readiness screening” to determine if they demonstrate “superior academic talents or abilities and social and emotional readiness.”
Secretary of Education Jones testified in opposition of HB 1157, which notes the Department of Education would have to approve the new assessment used by schools, saying they don’t currently “deal with” kindergarten screenings and upon reading the bill “did not know how” they would measure social and emotional readiness.
“The screeners, the waivers, the process then becomes something that would be difficult to manage,” Sec. Jones told committee members.
HB 1157’s prime sponsor, Rep. Tony Randloph, said the proposal is “just simply an evaluation for students” whose parents “believe their child is ready to move on to kindergarten.”
“It not rocket science. It’s not creating a whole new program,” Rep. Randolph testified.
ASBSD is monitoring the bill.
Rep. Jon Hansen said the bill would “simply provide assurance to those children with autism” that they could not be denied open enrollment to district if they meet three new criteria being introduced. Those criteria include:
- In the preceding school year, was a resident student and enrolled in the school district;
- In the preceding school year, was determined to have a level four disability or a level five disability with at least one disability being a level four disability; and
- Does not require an assignment to an out of district special education residential or tuition day program
SASD Executive Director Rob Monson said the bill “is a bit overstepping local policies” as district may not be able to meet the needs of the student, but wouldn’t be able to deny the application.
Rep. Thomas Brunner said the bill “puts smaller school districts in a predicament” due to the funding constraints that could develop.