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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 www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Legislation Promotes Early Special Education Intervention Programs

State lawmakers are considering a change in the way special education programs are funded and enforced in schools. Senate Bill 15 allows schools to use funds to develop and implement early intervening services for students who aren’t currently considered special needs students. The services would be used for students who have academic and behavioral needs. Dick Tieszen representing the Sioux Falls School District says the school district has been studying its early intervention services for about eight years.
 
“Where we would expect about 80 percent of those students that we identify as being challenged in those two areas of behavioral services as well as reading, we would expect about 80 percent of those students to later need special ed. What we’ve found over the last eight years is that we’ve been able to reduce that to only 6 percent. That’s an incredible number so we’re very excited about how this has worked in the Sioux Falls School District, and we think it has been hugely successful,” Tieszen says.
 
Tieszen says the early intervention program is a cost effective way to keep students in school and reduce the number who need special education services. Another portion of the bill also increases the tax levy school districts can levy for special education funds by 12 cents. Members of the House Education committee referred Senate Bill 15 to Appropriations.