Panel created to study S.D. Department of Education

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, SD (KELO) — The South Dakota Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee agreed Wednesday to appoint a special panel to study the state Department of Education.

Senator Jack Kolbeck, a Sioux Falls Republican, called for it. Representative Chris Karr, a Sioux Falls Republican, seconded it.

The 8-1 vote set up a three-lawmakers group: GOAC chair Senator Ryan Maher, an Isabel Republican; vice chair Representative Sue Peterson, a Sioux Falls Republican; and another committee member Maher will choose.

The move came as state Education Secretary Ben Jones presented some of his goals for students’ performances in 149 public school districts.

Karr said the department had failed under a previous secretary, Melody Schopp. She resigned after seven years as the department head during the Daugaard administration.

New Governor Kristi Noem appointed Jones in January. He acknowledged Wednesday he was several months behind his schedule on setting overall new goals for the department.

Jones said he is looking at what works in South Dakota’s and the nation’s better-performing schools.

Maher decided he would appoint Peterson as chair and he wouldn’t be on it. He also expanded the panel to four members. The others will be Kolbeck, Karr and Representative Shawn Bordeaux, a Mission Democrat.

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