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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at

Schools Must Continue to Pay Newspapers for Publishing Notices

Schools must continue publishing school board meeting notices and minutes in newspapers. House Bill 1224 sought to remove those requirements and allow school districts to publish documents online. Discussion in the House Local Government committee lasted for more than an hour Tuesday morning. The bill’s primary sponsor Representative Steve Westra says some school districts pay more than $40,000 every year to publish their notices in papers. He says it’s a double burden on tax payers whose money goes to school districts and then must pay for a paper to read about it.

“It’s very expensive to print this information in newspapers for the larger entities, especially for the school districts. When you look at the amount of money that they do spend on this, we could actually be using those funds to hire a full-time teacher and possibly an aide as well. Again, I’m not opposed to them (the newspapers) publishing the information, I’m just opposed to having to pay for this information when tax dollars could be used better going forward,” Westra says.

Westra says the legislation is a cost-saving initiative. David Bordewyk with the South Dakota Newspaper Association says he’s against the bill.

“Local governments don’t ask other vendors to provide goods and services for free. We don’t ask those who provide road grating equipment to counties to provide that equipment for free. This is a service, newspapers are performing a service here by publication of public notices, so why should they be expected to do it for free as well,” Bordewyk says.

020513--HB 1224 KILLED--READER BITE.mp3
David Bordewyk with the South Dakota Newspaper Association opposes House Bill 1224

Bordewyk says you can’t guarantee confidence online, but when public notices are printed they serve as a legal document. The bill was killed in committee.