Committee Kills Student Minimum Repeal Bill
By Kealey Bultena
Lawmakers once again say school districts have to educate at least 100 students. The governor’s office introduced a bill to repeal the student minimum for school districts. The legislation made it though the House but died in a Senate committee.
Supporters of eliminating South Dakota’s student minimum say forcing districts with fewer than 100 students to consolidate is an arbitrary call. Tony Venhuizen with the governor’s office says whether a district should be disbanded is a decision for people in the community, not the state.
"It’s the governor’s belief that we should allow decision about education, whenever possible, to be made at the local level," Venhuizen says.
But Republican Senator Mark Johnston says districts need to meet a threshold, even if it is subjective.
"We establish baselines for a lot of different things: kids to start kindergarten at five, attend until eighteen. We set the criteria for small school factor. That’s what we do," Johnston says.
Governor Dennis Daugaard supports repealing the law and even talked about it in his State of the State address in January. But Senators on the Education Committee killed the repeal bill by a vote of four to three.
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