Sentinel funding, kindergarten eligibility and OE prohibition bills pass

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Sentinel funding, kindergarten eligibility and OE prohibition bills pass

Three very different education related issues reached the House floor on Monday (2/10).


House Bill 1152, which provides financial assistance for school sentinel training, passed the House Education committee on 10-5 vote. ASBSD is monitoring the bill.


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.


Rep. Dayle Hammock, the bill’s prime sponsor, said its “money that is available and on hand” through DOE that would be used to fund the reimbursements.


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.”


Committee members also passed House Bill 1157, which provides for kindergarten enrollment options, on an 8-7 vote.


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.


Finally, House Education members voted 11-4 to pass House Bill 1173, which prohibits a school board from denying an application for open enrollment from certain students. ASBSD opposes 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.


Each bill heads to the House floor next for review and debate.


For updates on these bills and others during the 2020 legislative session, check the ASBSD Blog and Bill Tracker page.

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