ROZUM: K-12 reform found as a ‘great opportunity’Ideas have potential to spark innovative change.
By: Tona Rozum, Guest columnist
Week four entailed hearings from morning to night, the result of a shorter session, missing two days and Tuesday of this week was the day when all bills must be out of the house of origin. There have been a few Senate bills making the House agenda, but very few. House committees will begin the process of hearings for the Senate bills that made it through committee and off the Senate floor. This is a four-day week and most likely another of constant meetings.
In addition to education being the center of discussion, there have been some issues that require and deserve lengthy hearings: eminent domain by non-governmental agencies (very far-reaching with significant impact on all entities affected, with main intent being railroads and pipelines); a number of big-game hunting licenses to be used on a landowner’s own property; revision of the fee schedule for certain documents filed with county registers of deeds; consideration of capping easements at 30 years rather than perpetuity; extending the amount of terms a legislator can serve (would be a ballot issue).
Education will be on the floor this week and the suggestions and ideas continue to flow. Knowing the next two years are intended for intense training for teachers and administrators, I can’t help but think the end result of what we see in two years for education will be different than the starting point where we are now. There are so many good people in the trenches with ideas that the end result has the potential to be great innovation in education. Yes, I tend to be positive and look at this as a great opportunity.
Here are some discussion points that surfaced this past week in education: more local control which could allow participating in the plan developed; opting out or creating your own plan; giving schools flexibility. This plan would need to meet criteria based on student achievement and be approved. Annual bonuses over five years could be provided to new teachers that serve needed subjects. The intent is to help teachers pay off loans, and the teacher must teach in a South Dakota public school. The discussion has moved to the continuing contract/due process issue. The concerns are very legitimately about a good process for evaluation and training of the evaluators. It appears the evaluation process may be weak in many districts, so the training will be critical. This discussion will continue and please send any ideas you have.
As a point of clarification, after the cracker barrel in Plankinton and the discussion concerning the rural electric co-ops, I checked on the number of registered lobbyists employed. They have two paid lobbyists, but the confusion came when all directors and managers registered as lobbyists some years back. Unless you are only representing yourself, you must register to be legal. That could be misleading, not to mention confusing. I do have some numbers about taxes collected, so if anyone has interest, e-mail or give me a call.
Please keep all and any ideas and solutions coming.
Tona Rozum is a Republican from Mitchell representing Davison and Aurora counties in the state House of Representatives.