The 2014 legislative session in South Dakota begins this week in Pierre. As always, state funding for education will be one of the major issues. Governor Dennis Daugaard has proposed a three-percent funding increase for local districts, an amount that’s above the required inflation rate of one-point-six percent. Sandy Arseneault, president of the South Dakota Education Association, says while her group appreciates the hike, it still doesn’t fill the gap left by the ten-percent cut three years ago.
A number of state lawmakers are also questioning the move to Common Core standards. Those are achievement goals adopted by a majority of the states, to replace those established by “No Child Left Behind.” Arseneault says many districts have made a big commitment to the new standards.
In past sessions, bills have been introduced that would limit teacher tenure, as well as their ability to negotiate contracts. Arseneault says they hope those types of issues don’t surface this year.
The session opens Tuesday with the governor’s State of the State speech. The legislature is scheduled to meet into mid-March.