The 2013 session of the Legislature showed we have deepening, serious problems in rural South Dakota.
This concept came from Sen. Mike Vehle, R-Mitchell, and state Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson, who brought the situation to the Legislature’s attention and has kept it there.
The plan calls for the local county and the State Bar organization to contribute in addition to the state subsidy.
Another law was passed providing an exception for small school districts to remain in operation and continue receiving state aid even if they fall below the 100-student threshold.
They need to join a consortium using technology to qualify for the exception and avoid forced consolidation.
As its main sponsor, Sen. Mark Johnston, R-Sioux Falls, put it, the time has come to stop forcing the loss of school systems on the smallest places, so long as they’re willing to try.
There was another law passed that establishes a scholarship program for college students who agree to teach in areas of “critical need” in South Dakota.
That measure from Sen. Tim Rave, R-Baltic, was part of the HB 1234 package of K-12 education changes in 2012.
Voters rejected that package in the November general election. At its heart was an attempt to eliminate the state law that provides continuing contract provisions for teachers.