Charter School Bill Passes House (Audio)
By Jenifer Jones
The State House of Representatives passed a bill that establishes a pilot charter school geared toward Native American students. The charter school depends on whether the Department of Education receives a federal grant to fund it.
The school is geared toward science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as Native American Culture. Opponents are concerned that giving enrollment priority to Native American students amounts to segregation. Mark Kirkeby of Rapid City spoke against the bill.
"Having a public school for the sole purposes of a select group of South Dakotans I think certainly is a step in the wrong direction," Kirkeby says.
Proponents of the measure say anyone can attend the school, not just Native Americans. Representative Oran Sorenson of Garretson says in order to give students a better education, it's time to try something new.
"One fact we all have to remember is what we are doing now for our children on the reservations is not working folks," Sorenson says.
The bill passed 49 to 20 and goes to the governor.
Member stations can download the audio file here.