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SDHSAA called before Legislature

PIERRE — The executive director for the South Dakota High School Activities Association will appear before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations next week regarding finances, policies and accountability.

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The association was created by the Legislature but doesn’t follow South Dakota laws on public meetings and public records and has claimed its financial audits are private.

The meeting between executive director Wayne Carney and the 18 senators and representatives on the committee is set for Tuesday at 3 p.m. Central time in the Capitol.

The proceedings will be available over the Legislature’s Internet broadcasting system. “We’re making it a standard meeting,” said Sen. Deb Peters, R-Hartford. She is the chairwoman of the joint committee.

“There’s a lot of controversy in the public eye,” she said.

Helping prompt the meeting was a set of decisions by the association’s governing board last year to increase ticket prices by $2 for district and regional events effective in the 2013-2014 school year.

The board then voted in August to dedicate $1 from each ticket to the foundation that Carney has been working to establish financially.

Officials from many school districts protested to legislators about the move to take $1 for the foundation.

On Wednesday, board members voted 5-3 to repeal $1 of the increase and to stop taking money from ticket sales for the foundation.

Carney’s staff also presented information Wednesday showing that many of the communities that have hosted SDHSAA state events have deficiencies.

Audience members weren’t allowed to have a copy of the deficiency report Wednesday. Carney declined to provide a copy of the chart to a reporter Thursday.