Education

Jenifer Jones

A measure known as the transgender bathroom bill is on its way to the governor’s desk. House Bill 1008 survived the State Senate on Tuesday. Fifteen lawmakers in that chamber oppose the legislation, but 20 support it.

Supporters of the so-called transgender bathroom bill say it protects student privacy by securing restrooms for opposite biological sexes. The bill determines sex based on anatomy and birth certificates. State Senator Brock Greenfield supports the measure.

Jenifer Jones

Teachers from across the state say they’re traveling to Pierre to support education funding, yet not everyone is convinced the move is right. A leading lawmaker and the president of a statewide teachers’ organization have different perspectives on the effect of educators turning up at the Statehouse. Still teachers plan to show up this week for debate in Piere. 

Dakota Digest for February 12, 2016

Feb 12, 2016

The state legislature has passed a transgender bathroom bill to the Senate floor. It will be voted on next week, and if it passes, it will go to Governor Dennis Daugaards desk. Also, the Governor's education bill has been delayed until next week. State Gymnastics is also underway at the Swiftel Center in Brookings on Friday and Saturday. All of this and more on this week's edition of Dakota Digest.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

A bill that mandates accommodations for transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools is on its way to the state Senate floor. An education committee Thursday voted to pass House Bill 1008. Supporters say the measure protects students’ privacy. Opponents say it’s discrimination.

The governor's plan to overhaul education funding continues to be key legislation during the 2016 Session. SDPB's Kealey Bultena has been following education topics closely as the process to raise teacher salaries continues to unfold and, some fear, unravel in Pierre. Bultena joins Lori Walsh to talk about the progress of HB1182 (a bill to increase the sales tax in order to sustainably fund education), rule 5-17, which was used to delay debate of the bill this week, and HB1008, a bill that seeks to redefine bathroom use for transgender students.

Jenifer Jones

Debate on a possible tax hike to fund education is stalled in the State House until next week. Educators who support more money for teacher pay packed the gallery at the Statehouse. As Representatives started work on part of a new education plan for South Dakota, discussion stopped when a fraction of lawmakers invoked a special rule.

Jenifer Jones

Lawmakers in Pierre reject a measure that requires parents opt in to education related to human sexuality. House Bill 1168 mandates parents provide written permission before a student participates in any education related to sex ed, abstinence or human sexuality. That includes specific courses but also units in required classes such as biology.

State Representative Tom Holmes is a former classroom teacher.

Jenifer Jones

A bill that eliminates an activities policy on transgender students is halfway through the Statehouse. House Bill 1112 voids the transgender policy the South Dakota High School Activities Association has in place. Lawmakers in Pierre amended the measure during debate.

Several South Dakota lawmakers say they understand school leaders want a consistent, clear policy for transgender students, but legislators disagree about who should institute the guidelines and what they should include.

Jenifer Jones / SDPB

Lawmakers in Pierre support the first element of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s proposal to infuse more money into schools for teacher pay. House Bill 1182 is one of three bills that compose the K-12 education funding plan. The bill authorizes a sales and use tax increase of one half of one percent.  

SDPB

The Statehouse Podcast for February 8th, 2016 includes coverage of legislation on: abortion regulations, education funding, religious freedom and LGBT civil rights, open meetings, and a courthouse and capitol enhanced conceal carry bill.

Jenifer Jones

The Statehouse Podcast for Sunday, February 7th includes coverage of legislation on medical marijuana, Medicaid expansion, education funding, and government accountability. 

 

State lawmakers killed a bill Thursday that allows science teachers to incorporate information outside the approved curriculum to help students analyze and learn. Supporters of the measure say it gives teachers power to facilitate understanding; opponents question whether the measure solves a real problem.

Jenifer Jones / SDPB

A measure that allows lawmakers to review the South Dakota High School Activities Association’s social policy is dead. Some legislators support House Bill 1111 as a means to regulate issues related to transgender students among other matters. The argument on the bill in committee centered on the whether the activities association qualifies as a state agency.

Jenifer Jones / SDPB

A new perspective on education funding is working its way through the State Capitol, but some say it’s an uphill battle. This year Governor Dennis Daugaard is proposing an overhaul of the way the state funds education. His plan includes a half-penny increase in the sales tax and a change in the way schools get funding. The plan requires two-thirds of the state’s lawmakers to approve a tax increase in an election year.

Dakota Digest for January 29, 2016

Jan 29, 2016
SDPB

On this week's edition of Dakota Digest, the state legislature has concluded its work for the month of January. This week the top topics were Transgender students and bathrooms in public schools, education, medicaid expansion, and daylight savings time.

Jenifer Jones

A state Senate panel is endorsing education plans that focus on supporting Native American students. One of those measures funds programs that focus on incorporating Indian culture and language into standard subjects. 


Jenifer Jones

The Statehouse Podcast for January 26th, 2016 includes stories on: a proposed change to daylight savings time, regulations for changing school district boundaries, a bill that requires lockdown practice in schools, and more.

Jenifer Jones

The Legislative Podcast for January 25th, 2016 includes stories on an effort to change the policy on transgender bathrooms and locker rooms in schools.  You can find more from opponents, and proponents who were interviewed on SDPB’s Dakota Midday.   This podcast also includes updates on legislation to mandate a meningitis vaccine for entry in school and an effort

A bill outlining which students can use which bathrooms in South Dakota schools is past its first legislative hurdle. The House State Affairs committee Monday approved House Bill 1008. Supporters of the measure say it protects student privacy; opponents say the move harms students who are transgender.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

State lawmakers are trying to figure out the best way to fund education in 151 different South Dakota school districts. And that might be especially difficult when it comes to small schools. Bills with the language of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s plan to increase teacher pay are not yet filed in Pierre. Right now lawmakers are working off of explanations from the governor’s State of the State speech and the Department of Education. Members of the legislature are determining what revamping the K-12 funding formula means for small schools and whether leaders are starting in the right place.

State lawmakers working on policies to increase teacher pay are weighing accountability and local control. The two concepts clash as legislators look at a plan to raise the sales tax for teacher salary increases – even among Republicans who control both chambers of South Dakota’s legislature.

A poll commissioned by Governor Dennis Daugaard indicates at least 71 percent of likely voters approve of his plan to raise the sales tax one half-cent to increase teacher salaries.

Legislative Podcast: Ed Funding, Medicare Expansion, Welfare Drug Testing

Jan 24, 2016

The SDPB Legislative Podcast for January, 24th, 2016 includes stories on Education Funding, Medicare Expansion, Welfare Drug Testing, and an effort to limit the scope of the State Board of Geographic Names.

State representatives support a measure that takes South Dakota out of a regional coalition. State leaders entered the Midwestern Higher Education Compact in 2008. A push is now underway to end the contract with 11 other states.

South Dakota is part of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact. Proponents say the Board of Regents has gained from the membership. State lawmakers say enrollment has two primary advantages: it offers more buying power on technology purchases and savings on property insurance.

Katie Hunhoff - South Dakota Magazine

The Legislative Podcast for January 21, 2016  includes three stories on education issues plus a story on a proposal to change the DUI law for juveniles and an effort to end the Pac Man Tax.

Kealey Bultena

Public school administrators are telling teachers a plan to increase the average teacher salary to more than $48,500 doesn’t mean pay raises across the board. Governor Dennis Daugaard wants to boost education funding by raising the sales tax by a half cent. 

South Dakota’s Blue Ribbon Task Force determined that teacher pay in South Dakota is behind surrounding states by thousands of dollars. Now lawmakers must decide on the right mechanism for funding K-12 education and how much money school districts should receive.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Leaders in Pierre are laying out the governor’s new plan for dispensing state tax dollars to schools. This week’s discussion includes details about proposed caps to school districts’ reserve funds. 

South Dakota school districts are allowed to keep reserve funds. They’re basically savings accounts for general fund dollars. Part of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s plan to alter the funding formula for K-12 schools includes limiting the amount of money schools can squirrel away.

SDPB

Higher education leaders are working to get students on track for college-level courses without adding to their years in school. Not all students are prepared for college or tech programs after high school. Now educators are offering them opportunities to catch up while taking normal class loads.

Representatives from the Board of Regents and South Dakota’s technical institutes are talking to lawmakers about retaining students – especially when their skills are shy of normal requirements. State colleges and tech schools now have versions of co-remediation.

SDPB

President Obama has announced new regulations and more stringent background checks for anyone who wants to purchase a firearm. 

Meanwhile, in South Dakota 2015 saw a spike in the number of concealed pistol permits, the permits allow a citizen who has completed a background check to legally hide and carry a handgun.  

While a state issued conceal carry permit requires a background check it doesn’t necessarily streamline the federal background checks needed to purchase a firearm.  Some state lawmakers hope that can change.
 

There are 85 Republicans and 20 Democrats in the South Dakota Legislature. Although one party has a clear majority, leaders say with issues like Medicaid expansion and tax increases, both sides need to work together to accomplish goals.

Speaker Wink and Senator Sutton continue the conversation of the Session's top issues ... from raising teacher salaries, to food tax relief. They also discuss how South Dakota citizens can be part of the legislative process.

Pages