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Legislators recommend changes to state's special-education laws

PIERRE — Several proposals that would alter some parts of South Dakota's system for funding special education, and also set the stage for bigger potential changes in the next few years, advanced Tuesday to the Legislature's Executive Board.

The board will decide whether the measures get introduced in the 2019 session. The legislation came from lawmakers assigned to study the state's extraordinary cost fund for special education.

Rep. Mary Duvall, R-Pierre, chaired the study panel. She said legislators established the program 21 years ago. The recommended bills would:

• Establish a state oversight board with a legislator on the panel;

• Change state reimbursement amounts every two years, rather than current practice of three years;

• Increase the annual appropriation to $5 million from the present $4 million and add an index factor; and

• Create a two-year task force to look further into the broader issue of special education.

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