We have names for the members of the fourth of six committees authorized by House Bill 1234, Governor Dennis Daugaard's education reform bill. This committee, the Education Reform Advisory Council, arises from an amendment by Senator Russell Olson (R-8/Wentworth), who created this additional bureaucracy to make us think HB 1234 is really about improving South Dakota's public schools rather than destroying them to make way for the digitization and privatization of education.
Here are the 25 SDERAC members and what I can tell you about them (with some best guessing, given that there could indeed be more than one Heath Larson or Dean Christensen in South Dakota):
- Sandy Arsenault, president, South Dakota Education Association
- Bev Banks, Belle Fourche school board; president, Associated School Boards of South Dakota
- Senator Jim Bradford (D-27/Pine Ridge), seeking re-election
- Dean Christensen, superintendent, Deuel school district
- Mary Day
- Fred Deutsch, Watertown school board; Republican candidate for District 4 House
- Pam Espeland
- Cooper Garnos, former Republican legislator, stepped down in 2011 to become principal, Lyman HS/Presho Elementary
- Joe Graves, Mitchell superintendent, early and persistent flack for HB 1234
- Mark Greguson, Chester superintendent
- James Hansen, Board of Regents
- Jeff Holcomb, president, Southeast Technical Institute
- Senator J. Mark Johnston (R-12/Sioux Falls), seeing re-election
- Julius, John
- Heath Larson, principal, Buchanan Elementary, Pierre
- Rep. Larry Lucas (D-26A/Mission), seeking election to Dist. 26 Senate
- Rob Monson, principal, Parkston Elementary
- Kristin Morse, teacher, Madison Elementary
- Jeff Nelsen
- Rep. Tad Perry (R-24/Pierre), defeated in Dist. 24 Senate primary and recount
- Wade Pogany, executive director, Associated School Boards of South Dakota; former official in state Department of Education. Pogany distinguished himself and ASBSD by testifying as a proponent of HB 1234 before House Education on Feb. 8, then as an opponent before Senate Education on Feb. 23.
- Sen. Bruce Rampelberg (R-30/Rapid City), re-elected in primary
- Rep. Jacqueline Sly (R-33/Rapid City), seeking re-election
- Samantha Walder, friend, Deuel HS English teacher, and Republican
- Paula Weeldreyer, 5th grade teacher, Jefferson Elementary, Pierre
I'll fill in information on all names as I track it down. Confirmed opponents of HB 1234 on the committee that I can identify include Sen. Bradford, Rep. Lucas, and Arsenault, who led SDEA's petition drive to refer HB 1234. Deutsch called HB 1234 a net harm for schools back in February, but since it passed, I haven't seen him place further opposition on record.
The four Republican legislators on the panel all voted for HB 1234.
HB 1234 charges these committee members with advising on the implementation of HB 1234 discussing the following issues, and reporting thereupon to the Legislature by December 1:
- The advantages and disadvantages of initiatives designed to provide for increased compensation for teachers;
- Future teaching areas of critical need, and solutions to recruit, retain, and train teachers in these critical need areas; and
- Other ideas to improve student achievement.
Keep in mind, the Legislature has appointed this committee and convenes it without any statutory authority. South Dakota laws don't take effect until July 1. Pending verification of the 30,000 petition signatures submitted last week, HB 1234 will likely remain off the books until November... and I'll go out on a limb that my friend LK won't and predict voters will reject HB 1234 on a 65-35 split. If the state spends any public dollars on the SDERAC's meetings, it is spending those dollars without legal authorization. Just something fun to keep in mind, committee members, if your chairperson, Secretary Schopp, hands you a mileage reimbursement form.