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A Big Week for Education in South Dakota

A Big Week for Education in South Dakota

It’s a big week for education in South Dakota after some major education legislation has been both passed and vetoed. This week, a proposed  state sales tax increase to raise teacher pay has mvoed forward while restrictions against transgendered students have gotten the boot. 

In the state’s Senate, legislation to raise teacher pay by raising the state’s sale tax has passed its final hurdle and will now head to Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s desk.

"A half-penny sales tax to boost the state's lowest-in-the-nation teacher pay cleared its final hurdle in the Legislature on Tuesday with a 25-10 vote in the Senate,” said The Argus Leader. 

"It's historic. It's a truly historic day... It's been a long time coming and it's so good that this is the time,” South Dakota Education Association President Mary McCorkle said to The Argus Leader.

The state’s legislators and education experts hope the proposed change will help recruit and retain teachers in the state.

As for the legislation that was vetoed- Gov. Daugaard vetoed this week legislation that would restrict transgendered students’ access to restrooms and locker rooms.

If approved, South Dakota would have been the first to pass such legislation formally restricting transgendered students’ bathroom and locker room use, although other school districts have posed such restrictions without legislation in the past.

"In a message to state lawmakers announcing his veto, Daugaard said that the bill would have introduced a new statewide mandate that 'does not address any pressing issue concerning the school districts of South Dakota,’” said The Washington Post.

"Daugaard’s decision came days after meeting with transgender youth to hear their personal stories and their reasons for opposing the bill, which would have required that students use the public school restrooms that correspond with their biological sex instead of their gender identity,” the Post said.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

3/2/2016

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