Two bills took different directions on their way out of an education committee.
Senate Education committee members quickly passed House Bill 1031, which revises certain provisions regarding school district fiduciary funds, on a 7-0 vote on Thursday (2/6). The bill also passed the full Senate and just awaits the signature of Gov. Kristi Noem to become law.
S.D. DOE Finance Management Director Cody Stoeser said the bill brings a “slight change in some wording to matchup with the government accounting standards board” in order to “align with their standards and terminology.”
The main adjustment in the bill is changing “agency” to “custodial” in relation to what Stoeser called “short term” funds for school districts.
ASBSD is monitoring the bill, which is likely to receive the signature of Gov. Noem.
Senate Bill 123, which appropriates $750,000 to the Literacy Intervention Program, is not headed to the Senate floor, but instead the Joint Appropriations committee after a 4-3 vote by Senate Education committeemen to refer it with a “Do Pass” recommendation.
The Literacy Intervention Program was adopted in 2016 by the legislature as a grant program to provide school districts funding to enhance the reading skills of students. The funding for the program ran out in 2019 and Sen. Brock Greenfield, the bill’s prime sponsor, seeks to return the opportunity for more schools to tap into a reinvested state program to increase literacy in students.
“They’ve (school districts) experienced great gains in terms literacy,” Sen. Greenfield said of the program’s success in participating districts. “The idea would be that we let more schools…come on board.”
Mitch Richter, lobbyist for Imagine Learning, who previously provided the online software for the Literacy Intervention Program, said there are school districts “who bought the program on their own” at $150 per license, but a state contract would save them $100 per license.
Sen. Greenfield appealed to the committee to keep alive the idea of a program that “yielded very positive results” in the literacy of participating students.
“Please consider sending this to (Joint) Appropriations,” Sen. Greenfield requested of the committee members.