It has been my privilege to serve the people of District 22 and our great State of South Dakota as your Legislator in the House of Representatives. As your Legislator I work hard to implement your concerns to keep the State of South Dakota on a path of success and continued growth.
In addition to my other duties in Pierre, I serve on the House Appropriations Committee. This committee administrates the uses of our state’s funding sources. The nature of this committee has allowed me to gain a perspective of our entire legislative system and exactly how your tax dollars are used. This experience is invaluable as we legislate to meet future challenges.
You, my constituents, are a valuable resource as we implement each day’s legislative process. I appreciate your input and guidance. My Facebook Page is an excellent resource to follow my legislative activities.
My family and I wish to thank you for the opportunity to serve as your representative in Pierre. As South Dakota and the rest of the nation emerges from these challenging times I will continue to use my business background, leadership experience, and common sense to position our city and state for future success.
I would like to share with you a real concern I have regarding the future of our educational system in South Dakota. Now is the time for us to take a fresh look at education. Many of my constituents have shared with me the feeling that the “No Child Left Behind Evaluation Format” (which originated under President Lyndon Johnson in 1965) no longer does justice to our present-day education system. What better time to research our current education process and see how we can bring a more advanced solution to the local school districts from the state level.
Why am I concerned?
Presently, 33% of South Dakota high school graduates need additional remedial classes to get into college.
Of South Dakota high school graduates wanting to study science, math, engineering, and technology programs in college, 66% need additional remedial classes.
The United States ranks 31st in math of the 43 industrial nations and 17th in reading.
Of all the teachers who graduated in 2012 from the four state colleges, 19 graduated with a math degree, 0 with a physics degree, 1 with a chemistry degree, 1 with an earth science degree, and 12 with a biology degree.
The 2012 South Dakota Legislature offered local school districts the following benefits to help with these concerns:
The teacher incentive package offers $1,000 per teacher to each public school district. Each school district was given the freedom to implement this incentive as they saw fit as along as it included an evaluation process approved by the Secretary of Education.
The legislature proposed 100 “Critical Needs Scholarships” per year to address the shortage of teachers within critical needs areas.
The “Math and Science Teacher Program” will reward the state’s middle school and high school distinguished math and science teachers with an annual bonus of $2,500.
As of 2016, local schools will not be required to offer tenure to their teachers, although they will have the option to do so if they desire. Previous laws stated all schools had to offer tenure and local districts did not have the authority to decide when to keep or release their teaching staff.
Once fully implemented, these proposals will be funded by the state at a level of $15 million per year in addition to the regular funding for K-12 education.