The Presidents' Day crackerbarrel in Redfield drew a good comment from a local school board member who would like the Legislature to help his district recruit more teachers.
The Legislature currently has two competing rural teacher recruitment proposals. House Bill 1092 would pay for paraprofessionals currently working in rural districts to get their teaching degrees. Senate Bill 144 would reimburse any new teacher who starts her or his career in a rural school district. À la Northern Exposure, both bills expect the new recruits to teach in rural districts for five years. HB 1092 pays the tuition up front; SB 144 reimburses tuition costs after the third, fourth, and fifth years of rural teaching.
The Redfield school board member noted a crucial difference between the bills' definition of rural. Under HB 1092, a qualifying district must have "fall enrollment of six hundred or less." SB 144 says "rural school district" means "located in a community with a population of ten thousand persons or less."
The Redfield Pheasants number about 650. HB 1092 would leave them out. Redfield's population is shy of 2,400. SB 144 would reimburse new teachers who went to Redfield.
Obviously, the Redfield school board would prefer that the Legislature enact SB 144 over HB 1092. You'd better start shouting, Redfield (and Milbank, and Madison!): HB 1092 is ahead, having cleared committee and House floor, while SB 144 is languishing in Senate Appropriations.
But hang on: check that SB 144 definition again:
"Rural school district," a school district located in a community with a population of ten thousand persons or less [Senate Bill 144, South Dakota Legislature, posted 2015.01.28].
Located in a community of 10,000 or less? What does community mean there? Does it mean the town in which the school sits? Or does it mean the entire school district, town and country? Either way, Redfield's good under SB 144, but school districts and the Legislature will want to know the exact definition and the full list of qualifying districts arising therefrom before passing SB 144.