SB53, the bill that moves the cost of state assessments, technology and sparse schools to the general fund was changed back to it’s original form.
SDACC is deeply disappointed that technology, which is in all reality being mandated by the South Dakota Department of Education (SD DOE), the State Assessments, Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC), also being mandated by the SD DOE and sparse schools has been moved from the SD DOE budget to the general fund. The House of Representatives had amended the bill to leave those costs with the Department of Education. When the bill went back to the Senate to for concurrence on the amendment, the Senate voted to not concur, so the bill as amended went to a committee to find a compromise. When Rep.Jim Bolin introduced the amendment, he said he was willing to compromise on the cost of technology. When the committee of six met, there was no compromise. The amendment was removed. So the bill in its original form went back to the House of Representatives for approval. It was approved in the House of Representatives on a vote of 48-18.
Problems with this bill:
- The Governor is appointing a Blue Ribbon Task Force to study education this summer. As Rep. Mike Stevens pointed out, the governor has indicated that the task force will look at every aspect of education. No stone will be left unturned. Now that three items are moved from the SD DOE budget, they will NOT be looked at by the Task Force.
- If the SD DOE, and legislature are going to mandate something, they need to fully fund that mandate.
- The public and schools were led to believe that they are receiving .5% increase in per student funding. When in reality, that .5% will be spent to fund the assessments, technology and sparse schools. And there is no guarantee that local schools will receive that extra funding in future years to pay for those mandates.
- Your local property tax revenues will now pay 46% of those mandates.
This bill is now awaiting the Governor’s signature.
UPDATE: Gov. Daugaard signed this bill into law March 19, 2015.
You can read more here.