The first legislative step in creating a governing board for postsecondary technical institutes was taken on Thursday (Jan. 26).
“This is a very needed, positive and necessary change,” Sen. Jim Bolin testified before the committee in support of the bill, which originated from the passage of Amendment R during the general election in November.
Sen. Bolin noted passage of the bill would “enhance” the workforce of South Dakota while Rep. Mark Mickelson added in proponent testimony the bill would get “dedicated funding” to the state’s four tech schools.
Those four technical institutes – Lake Area Technical Institute, Mitchell Technical Institute, Southeast Technical Institute and Western Dakota Technical Institute – will have a representative fill an appointed seat on the new oversight board along with five other members representing different geographic regions of the state, as well as different industries. All seats are appointed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.
The newly established South Dakota Board of Technical Education would obtain oversight of tech institutes from the South Dakota Board of Education, but the S.D. BTE’s mission would “stay small” according to bill draftee and tech school representative Will Mortenson.
Mortenson also noted the bill would “keep the local control that still exits” with the local boards of education in which the tech institutes reside.
“They (local school boards) have been on board with this transition from the start,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany testified.