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March 20, 2012 04:57 PM

Petitions Circulating To Refer HB 1234 To Ballot

sioux falls, sd

Efforts to put one of the most talked about bills in Pierre on the November ballot are gaining momentum.

The South Dakota Education Association is sending out petitions across the state in an attempt to repeal House Bill 1234. The state's top teachers' union says the changes will only hurt education and it hopes voters agree.

Like it or hate it, House Bill 1234 has stirred up major debate. The basis of the bill, which underwent several changes before becoming law, is to better student achievement through top teacher bonuses and scholarships to critical need areas.

However, the South Dakota Education Association says it will do just the opposite; that's why the group wants voters to have the ultimate say.

"We do not believe it is good for educators or our children," SDEA UniServ Director Amanda Mack said.

With the legislative session now complete, signatures can be collected to refer the bill to the November ballot. Petitions just arrived on Tuesday.

"The very first thing we have to do is get the petitions out," Mack said.

The group has about two and a half months to collect signatures; however, it won't be easy. They have to have nearly 16,000 valid signatures, but they're confident they can do it.

"We have a number of people contacting us wanting to circulate, wanting to sign, and then we hit the streets to collect as many signatures as we can," Mack said.

1,500 packets have been sent out so far to about 100 people. The SDEA hopes to send out even more by generating awareness any way they can, with the ultimate goal to let the people directly decide.

"We've been on the phones talking to our members, we've done press releases, Facebook, Twitter, all the social media awareness we can use, we've been doing that," Mack said.

If you are interested in signing the petition, collecting signatures, or just want more information you can contact the South Dakota Education Association.  You can also check out their Facebook page.

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