Education

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.

Legislative Podcast: Education, Juvenile DUI, And Pac Man Tax

Jan 21, 2016
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.

Kevin Killer and Shawn Bordeaux discuss the intersection of state politics and tribal politics. From education to Medicaid expansion to the arts, the two state representatives highlight issues important to South Dakotans and call for partnerships between Native and non-Natives throughout the state. 

Legislative Podcast: State of the Judiciary, Education, Ethics Reforms

Jan 13, 2016
Melissa Hamersma / SDPB

The January 13th, 2016  SDPB Legislative Podcast features stories on the State of the Judiciary, education, and ethics reforms efforts.

Governor Dennis Daugaard sits down with Dakota Midday Host Lori Walsh to discuss  education, criminal justice reform, transparency and accountability in state government and business, and a potential state park in Spearfish Canyon. 

SDPB's Kealey Bultena digs in to the details of education reform, breaking down the numbers for Governor Dennis Duagaard's proposed teacher salary increase and highlighting reaction from lawmakers and educators. She also lets teachers and parents know what to expect going forward and how to be a part of the lawmaking process.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Governor Dennis Daugaard says increasing the sales tax on food does not pose an economic problem for South Dakotans. The governor’s plan to fund education increases the sales tax on all purchases one half of one penny.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some local lawmakers from both political parties say they support Governor Dennis Daugaard’s plan to increase money for education. Two members of the Blue Ribbon Task Force say the governor is making adequately funding schools a priority. Both lawmakers still anticipate some changes to the governor’s initial plan.

SF School Leader Optimistic About Edu. Plan

Jan 11, 2016
Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The leader of the state’s largest school district says South Dakota has an opportunity to restore value to careers in education. Governor Dennis Daugaard is set to reveal his vision for school funding during Tuesday afternoon's State of the State address. One education leader says the Governor’s proposal is more than a spending plan.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Lawmakers from districts in and around Sioux Falls are previewing their priorities for the 2016 legislative session. Wednesday morning a couple hundred people attended an annual breakfast from the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce to hear what lawmakers anticipate in the coming weeks.

Education

Teach For America Forges New Partnerships

Dec 28, 2015
Teach for America

Teach for America has announced new agreements with two tribes and one school that aims to get more teachers into reservation schools.
 
Teach for America recruits top young professionals, often right after college, and puts them in classrooms around the country.
 
South Dakota is facing a teacher shortage and schools on reservations like Standing Rock and Rosebud are areas of critical need.  
 
Jim Curran with Teach for America says the agreement helps recruit more Native teachers to come back home and teach in classrooms close to where they grew up.

One South Dakota lawmaker says she’s crafting a resolution about debt-free college. Democratic State Representative Paula Hawks says she wants to start a conversation with fellow lawmakers about the cost of higher education.

The phrase “debt-free college” is appearing in national discussions. State Representative Paula Hawks says she wants to bring the dialogue to South Dakota.

While people brave Black Friday on the hunt for deals, an expert says toy shoppers should make sure their great buys are appropriate for particular kids. Not all toys are made for children of different ages. Plus some choices offer kids a better opportunity to learn and grow.

Amy Hiesinger is a family life educator with Sanford Health. She says people should consider a child’s age and capabilities when shopping for gifts. Hiesinger says little children respond well to interactive gifts.

Dakota Digest for November 20, 2015

Nov 21, 2015
SDPB

On this week's edition of Dakota Digest, Jewel Cave surpasses 180 miles long, lawmakers discuss education, and a former middle school teacher gets 25 years in prison for child pornography.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some lawmakers on South Dakota’s education task force say they hoped for a more specific funding plan. The report from the Blue Ribbon committee includes many precise recommendations. Some members say the final numbers don’t go far enough.

Dakota Midday: Leadership SD

Nov 17, 2015

Leadership South Dakota aims to build the next generation of state leaders.

The program sends participants to different locations across the state like the State Capitol in Pierre, South Dakota State University in Brookings, and Oglala Lakota College in Kyle.
 
Students spend time getting to know the people and organizations in these communities.

The Blue Ribbon Task force has sent its report to Governor Dennis Daugaard.  In it they make several recommendations to improve education in South Dakota.  The task force calls for at least $75 million in ongoing additional revenue for education, boosting the average teacher salary and changing the funding formula to reflect a student teacher ratio.

Two members of the task force join us to talk about the report.  Democrat Billy Sutton and Republican Deb Soholt.

SDEA President Mary McCorkle is traveling the state as part of the annual American Education Week tour. Millions of educators and parents, students and community leaders are joining the NEW in raising awareness about the critical need to provide every child with a quality public education. Mary McCorkle joins us to talk about what’s happening in South Dakota and will also respond to the Blue Ribbon Task Force report.

NSU Receives Grant To Fund Student Support Services

Nov 16, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education is awarding nearly one and a half million dollars to a program that assists students at Northern State University. The TRIO Student Support Services Grant funds programs for those who are the first in their family to pursue a four-year degree, meet income qualifications, or have a documented disability.  

 

Patty Buechler

Mental health care providers working in schools receive recognition this week. Governor Dennis Daugaard has declared School Psychology Week in South Dakota to acknowledge their impact on learning. School psychologists focus on removing challenges so students can succeed in the classroom.

A library in Sioux Falls is partnering with Feeding South Dakota to provide after-school snacks for elementary students.

At 3 o'clock on a school day, students at Anne Sullivan Middle School walk across the street to Oak View Library while they wait to get picked up. Director of Siouxland Libraries  Mary Johns says staff had the idea of asking Feeding South Dakota if the two groups could partner to provide a snack for students who stay late in the evening waiting for parents.

Investigations into three separate corruption scandals involving state government are now underway in South Dakota.
 
They include EB-5, Gear Up, and alleged missing state funds along with items from the Secretary of State’s office.
 
These scandals have lead some in South Dakota to question the level of oversight in state programs.
 

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