Schools

A bill adjusting reorganization requirements for low-enrolled school districts is moving to the senate floor. Despite the do-pass motion, some lawmakers expressed hesitancy in adopting the new measure in state statute. 

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Schools and producers are working to feed kids with local crops. A federal grant worth $24,158 helps educate stakeholders on the Farm to School movement. The project brings local ingredients to school food programs.

Farm to Table restaurants aim to bring local foods directly to diners. Schools have a similar program to connect students with products raised nearby.

Sandra Kangas is the South Dakota Department of Education’s director of Child and Adult Nutrition Services. She says Farm to School improves access to local foods.

Rapid City Area Schools

A $1.8 million grant awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to researchers at the University of New Hampshire will focus on evaluating and implementing violence prevention programs in Rapid City schools.

Officials say the four year grant continues work on reducing violence among teens and adolescents.  

Human Rights Watch has released a 115-page report regarding LGBT rights. The report includes input from South Dakota students, teachers and parents of LGBT students. SDPB's Kealey Bultena joins Dakota Midday for a closer look at the report.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender students in South Dakota say they encounter discrimination in school. Their stories are part of a document released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch.

The 103-page report indicates students in South Dakota are bullied, harassed, and threatened because they’re LGBT. It includes stories that some schools and teachers treat LGBT kids – and staff – differently.  

Charles Michael Ray / SDPB

The superintendent of Rapid City Area Schools says the district needs a strong strategic plan. Lori Simon says education leaders are working to develop the plan to give direction and establish the district’s priorities.

"It gets everybody in the district working on the same page toward common goals," Simon says. "A strong strategic plan that you keep alive and working really guides decision-making as well as drives the alignment of actions and resources across the district."

Dakota Midday: "School Of The Future"

Sep 14, 2016
Stanford Graduate School of Education

Once the envy of the world, American schools are now in trouble. Test scores show American children lag far behind their peers in other industrialized countries. How can our schools help students of all backgrounds meet the challenges of tomorrow? Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Central, NOVA explores how the science of learning and technological innovations are transforming the way we teach and learn.

DOE

Eighteen education grants are being awarded to school districts in the state for innovation in education. The grants total almost a million dollars.

The education package passed in the 2016 legislature, provided some funding for classroom innovation grants.

The grants fund teacher training, and improved access to virtual learning. They also provide customized tools for creative teaching projects.

Mary Stadick Smith is with the South Dakota Department of Education.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota School Districts are deciding how to dole out more money for teacher pay. State lawmakers passed a tax increase to raise educator salaries. Now school leaders must choose how to distribute the money in their districts. In Sioux Falls, the board has unanimously approved a 6.8 percent increase for teachers.

A report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore shows states aren’t doing enough to support children after parent is sentenced to prison. The foundation is recommending policy reforms aimed at putting the needs of children first when judges and states make sentencing decisions.

Scot Spencer is with the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, a group that advocates for children considered at risk. The foundation wants more states to consider factors like distance and replacing suspended child support payments before sentencing a parent.  

Teachers from around South Dakota are collaborating to find new ways to engage students in problem solving. A conference on Technology and Innovation in Education wrapped up this week. One of the dozens of sessions focused on helping students break into a box by thinking outside of it.

Governor Signs Education Funding Bills

Mar 11, 2016
SD Governor's Office

A sales tax hike to benefit education and property tax relief is becoming law along with a major shift in the way South Dakota funds public schools. The changes are part of a three-piece legislative package that overhauls education funding.

Governor Dennis Daugaard has signed sweeping education funding changes into law. He and Republican State Senator Deb Soholt say it’s critical that the new laws increase the sales tax for a boost in teacher pay.

Jenifer Jones / SDPB

Lawmakers in Pierre support two programs aimed at Native American education. One measure seeks to help people who want to finish college courses so they can teach in Native American schools. The other sets up a pilot program to combine innovative cultural teachings with standard subjects.

Jenifer Jones

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives passed the last major piece of this session’s education funding package. Tuesday afternoon they made changes and eventually approved a version of Senate Bill 131.  

State Senators and Representatives support a bill that overhauls the way South Dakota funds public education. It restructures the funding formula and sets a target average teacher salary at $48,500.

Jenifer Jones

Lawmakers in the State Senate approve of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s proposal to change the way the state funds public education. Senate Bill 131 includes significant shifts in school funding. Most state senators endorse the plan, but some have reservations about the overhaul.

Jenifer Jones

Lawmakers are endorsing a sales tax increase for teacher pay. House Bill 1182 adds one half-penny to the state’s sales tax to generate money for education and property tax relief. The measure failed by one vote last week. Monday it succeeded by the same margin.

Bill Ends Offensive School Names, Mascots

Feb 22, 2016
Jenifer Jones

A bill that creates a process to ban racially charged school or athletic team names, mascots, or nicknames, is moving forward in the South Dakota Legislature.

Jenifer Jones / SDPB

Members of South Dakota’s legislature say they have to do something for education funding this session, but they don’t agree on how to fund any changes.

Melissa Hamersma Sievers / SDPB

Two bills that establish new guidelines for education funding in South Dakota move on to full consideration in the State Senate. This happened as members of the state House approve a reconsideration of a defeated sales tax increase to pay for the programs.

Jenifer Jones

One vote on the House floor Thursday killed a sales tax increase that supports teacher pay. A tax hike requires a super-majority, so the bill needed support from 47 state representatives. It got 46. The vote is official but it’s not the end of the discussion. 

House Bill 1182 is the governor’s legislation to add one half of one penny to the state’s sales tax. That generates $67 million for education and $40 million for property tax relief.

Ed Funding Plans Compete At Statehouse

Feb 18, 2016
Jenifer Jones

As a bill to increase the sales tax to benefit teacher pay trudges through the Statehouse, some Republican lawmakers are floating an alternative plan that doesn’t raise taxes. House Bill 1182 adds one half percent to the state sales tax. Lawmakers twice used a procedural rule to delay the bill. It’s on this afternoon’s House calendar.

Jenifer Jones / SDPB

A Republican leader says lawmakers working to raise teacher pay have a major concern: accountability. Republicans – and Democrats at the Statehouse want to make sure that any money earmarked for teacher pay isn’t funneled elsewhere by schools. Lawmakers are trying to figure out the best way to make this happen.

House Majority Leader Brian Gosch says Republicans in Pierre want to ensure school districts use any funding boost for teacher salaries on teacher salaries.

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. 

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.

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.  

Jenifer Jones

The Statehouse Podcast for February 3nd, 2016 includes coverage of legislation on transgender and gay marriage polices and effort to modify a measure dealing with health care passed by voters in 2014.  The podcast also includes an update on the bill requiring the results of abortion facility inspections to be posted on-line and legislation that requires schools to implement and practice safety plans.

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.

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. 


Dakota Midday: Dakota Political Junkies

Jan 27, 2016
South Dakota Legislature Legislative Research Council

Dakota Political Junkies Denise Ross and Jonathan Ellis joined guest host Kealey Bultena Wednesday to discuss several issues from the 2016 legislative session in Pierre.  A Daylight Savings bill sponsored by Senator Betty Olson of Prairie City was approved by a Senate panel yesterday.  The bill seeks to reject Standard Time, eliminating the changing of clocks twice a year.  The Junkies also visited about HB 1008, an act to restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools, the advancement of a school safety requirement plan in the state senate and more.

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