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Lawmakers Reject Plan To Elect Education Chief

February 1, 2014, 7:04 AM by Perry Groten

Lawmakers Reject Plan To Elect Education Chief
PIERRE, SD -

A South Dakota legislative committee has rejected a measure that would have let voters choose the state education secretary in statewide nonpartisan elections.  

The measure's sponsor, Rep. Jim Bolin of Canton, says state education secretaries were elected until the 1970s, when a constitutional amendment let the governor choose the education secretary. He says making the job an elected position again would give voters a bigger say in education issues and prevent a governor from having too much control over education.  

But the House State Affairs Committee voted 9-4 to kill the measure.

Opponents say an elected education secretary could clash with the governor, which would lead to problems in setting policies and running the state Education Department.   Opponents also say voters have influence on education policy when they elect governors.

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