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August 10, 2011 06:00 PM

State Standards For School Administrators

Sioux Falls, SD


When South Dakota school administrators are arrested, their local school boards typically have full authority to decide if any school standards or codes were broken that would cause them to lose their jobs.

School administrators in South Dakota are subject to criminal charges through the local judicial system. They are also accountable to their local school boards.

We contacted the president of the South Dakota board of education for comment on the state's standards in cases like the recent DUI arrest of Superintendent Lance Witte of Wessington Springs. We were told Witte's local school board has full authority to decide if his actions are appropriate.

"We have local school boards and they are very in-tune with what is accepted and not accepted in their communities and I trust the local school boards will make decisions based on the circumstances," South Dakota Board of Education President Don Kirkegaard said.

Now, the state does have a seven member Administrative Practices and Standards Commission that is appointed by the governor. However, this commission only gets involved if a complaint is filed.

Speaking only in general terms, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley says this state-level commission still has the ability to take action against a school administrator, despite local school board decisions.

"The South Dakota Administrators Commission has the authority to either reprimand a school official for a breech of the code of ethics or to hold a more formal hearing and then in that hearing they would ultimately provide a recommendation to the Secretary of Education for disciplinary action involving revocation or suspension of that certificate," South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said.

The state's code of ethics for school administrators was last updated 10 years ago.
  • Sioux Falls, SD

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A misspelling was corrected in this story.

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