Immediate Action Required: HB 1096 to Allow Parental Refusal of State Assessments

BolinSDACC wants to thank Representative Jim Bolin, for filing a bill to allow parents to refuse the state academic assessments, including the SBAC assessment.  Co-sponsors are Representatives Don Haggar, Haugaard, Latterell, Qualm, Rasmussen, Stalzer, Verchio and Wiik. Sen. Jenna Haggar is prime sponsor in the Senate. Senate co-sponsors are Phil Jensen, Betty Olson, Van Gerpen.

HB 1096 would require the state Department of Education to make available to parents an exemption form that parents need to sign, notarize then turn into their superintendent within 180 days of the start of the school fiscal year, July 1.


HB 1096 states:

However, no student is required to take any assessment administered pursuant to this section if the student’s parent or guardian, or, if the student is emancipated, the student submits a request for an exemption from the assessments on forms provided by the Department of Education to the superintendent of the school district within one hundred eighty days of the start of any school fiscal year. The request for an exemption shall be dated and signed by the parent or guardian, or the emancipated student, and the request shall be notarized. No school district or school district employee may take any punitive action against a student, including preventing the student from participating in any extracurricular activity, due to the student’s exemption from the testing requirements established in this section.

What does that mean for you as a parent? To refuse the test, you will follow the same steps that parents choosing to home school follow.

  • The state will provide exemption form
  • Pick up form from your school
  • Sign and notarize
  • Return form to school within 180 days of July 1.

This bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee, at 7:45 am, on Wednesday, February 3, 2016.

For those that can make the trip to Pierre to be in the room for this hearing, that is optimal. Consider testifying during this hearing. If you are unable to make it to Pierre that day, please call the members of the House Education Committee before Wednesday morning. If you click on their names, you will get their phone numbers.

The following Representatives are the ones who have, in the past, stood with parent’s constitutional right to refuse the state assessments and/or believe that this issue should be debated by the full House of Representatives. Please call them and thank them for their support and encourage them to continue standing with you by voting YES on HB 1096

Rep. Chip Campbell  

Rep. Roger Hunt       

Rep. Joshua Klumb   

Rep. Liz May             

Rep. Matt Wollmann 

Rep. Larry Zikmund  


The following members of the committee have historically not only stood against your constitutional right to refuse the annual assessments, but have voted to not allow a debate regarding testing by the full House of Representatives.

Rep. Fred Deutsch    

Rep. Peggy Gibson   

Rep. Paula Hawks    

Rep. Thomas Holmes

Rep. Timothy Johns  

Rep. Steven McCleerey

Rep. Jacqueline Sly  

Rep. Burt Tulson       

It is vital to contact these members asking them to send this bill to the House floor so all the people’s representatives can have a voice.  This is an issue that affects all 150,000 South Dakota’s K-12 children. Eight people should not be making this decision. There needs to be a conversation. If your Representative is not on the committee, your Representative is not getting a voice on this issue. If you click on their names, you will get their contact information including phone numbers. Call them this weekend. Also email them. Every day. Vote YES to send HB 1096 to the House Floor for debate.


You can learn more about state testing and why parents are choosing to refuse the tests at the links below.

Reasons to Refuse the SBAC and All State Assessments: Parents’ Constitutional Right

Lawsuit Challenges Constitutionality of Common Core and SBAC in South Dakota

Dr. Gary Thompson on Common Core AIR Testing

The Danger of Computer Adaptive Tests (CAT)

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