Dell Rapids Kindergarten Registration – March 14th Deadline

KindergartenRegisration_2016The Dell Rapids school district is now accepting Kindergarten registrations for the 2018-2019 school year.  The deadline to register is March 14th.  If there are any questions regarding the screening, please contact Jody Stone by email at Jody.Stone@k12.sd.us.

Registration can be found at this website:  http://www.dr-k12.org/special/kindergarten_registration

Who should register?

  • If your child will be 5 on or before September 1, 2018, you must register your child. This registration is for your child to be scheduled for Kindergarten screening. Current KPrep students do not need to register for this year’s Kindergarten screening.

Other ways you can register…

  • You can register your child via this website or by contacting the elementary school by phone (605-428-5473, option 6).

Two options for Kindergarten next year:

  • The district offers two programs for students who are age 5 on or before September 1, 2018 and entering kindergarten for the first time: (1) we offer a regular full day kindergarten program, and (2) we offer a full day K-prep program. The K-prep program is for students who may not exhibit Kindergarten readiness, as determined by school and parents.

 

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City Approves New Batting Cage

NewBattingCageA new batting cage will be constructed next to Field E in Dell Rapids after the city council gave its approval.  The Dell Rapids City Council approved the request by the Dell Rapids Baseball Association during the regular meeting on Monday, February 5th.

The Dell Rapids Baseball Association in partnership with the Dell Rapids Softball Association are working on a project to construct a new batting cage along the right field side of Field E.  The start of the project will be this spring in hopes of completing the project early into the baseball and softball seasons this summer, if not sooner.

“As you guys are probably aware, our numbers keep increasing, increasing, increasing, and we have one batting cage right now and that’s up by Rickeman Field.  So really, the youth fields don’t have any batting cages.  We would like to put a cage to start with, one single cage, down the right field line of Field E,” said Dell Rapids Baseball Association board member Jeff Holm.  Holm presented the project during the council meeting.

The Dell Rapids Baseball Association has been in contact with local companies and contractors to provide the materials for the project.  The goal is to try to get most of the materials and work volunteered or at cost to keep the price of the project as low as possible.  The baseball and softball associations did not request any city funding for the project.  Any costs associated with this project will be paid by the Dell Rapids Baseball Association.

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2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Dan Ahlers Week 4 Update

dan_ahlersGreetings from Pierre. This week, I will provide an update on a few bills of interest as well as an update on the Appropriation budget hearings.

A reoccurring theme this session has been the need for more skilled workers in South Dakota. We have workforce shortages in many areas of our economy. Even our state agencies struggle with recruitment. Higher wages in our neighboring states has been a contributing factor. Despite these shortages and low wages, some legislators are submitting bills that jeopardize workforce recruitment. HB 1197 and 1199 seek to strip local school teachers and higher-ed professionals of their collective bargaining rights. Keep in mind, unions in South Dakota have very little power and that neither school districts nor universities are supporting these bills. Collective bargaining can be a tool to ensure a competitive living wage. These bills send a message to potential job seekers that we don’t value education or job experience.

Last year’s ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments enacted policies that some lawmakers were unwilling to accept. The result was a repeal of IM-22 passed by the voters in 2016. This year, some legislators are trying to limit your voice at the ballot. HJR 1008, if passed, would require any constitutional amendment passed by the people of South Dakota to be approved by the legislature. SJR 1, if passed, would require a 55% majority for any amendment to the constitution. A constitutional amendment already requires more signatures than a ballot initiative. Both resolutions suggest that voters are not competent to make an informed decision. If legislators were doing a better job of listening to the voters, these resolutions, ballot measures and constitutional amendments wouldn’t be necessary.

In Appropriations, we heard budget requests from the Board of Regents. The universities budgets remain relatively flat compared to last year. Mike Rush, the executive director, emphasized the importance of funding a needs-based scholarship program. In South Dakota, we average about $14 per student. Surrounding states fund needs-based scholarships at an average of $1,000 per student. In order to adequately fund this program, Dr. Rush says we would need to appropriate approximately $3.3 million in funding each year. Keeping the cost of post-secondary education down is another way for this state to develop a stronger workforce. Having a robust needs-based scholarship could provide additional opportunities to students who could not otherwise afford a degree.

BOR also outlined legislation for facility construction and renovation. The USD Dakota Dome will be getting a face lift. The Dakota Dome was built in 1979 for $8.2 million and seats 10,000 people. This upgrade will be a $26 million renovation. The renovation will include an upgrade to bathroom facilities, additional seating and a new HVAC system. Improvements will also include upgrades to the exercise facility, classrooms and field functionality. The money for this project will come from bonds, donations and the higher education facilities fund.

The School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is building a new $13.5 million facility. HB 1071 will allow for the construction of a 50,000 square feet building. The new facility will include classrooms, gym, residential area, staff offices and a playground. The current facility is 55 years old and requires significant maintenance and repair. The building would require new lighting, HVAC and wiring to meet today’s electrical and technology standards. If the state would decide to renovate, it would be at the expense of taxpayers. The new facility would be paid for by a donation.

SB 50 will authorize the construction of the American Indian Student Center at SDSU. The current student center is located in the basement of another building. President Dunn made improving student services to Native Americans a priority. Because many native students come from poverty and troubled backgrounds, Dunn believes it is essential for these students have a secure and supportive place at the university to ensure a higher level of success. President Dunn cites the success of similar programs in states like Montana. The new facility will be paid for through $4 million in donations and a $500,000 expenditure from the School and Public Lands annual allocation.

It will be important to hear from you during session. I would appreciate your input on any issue or concern. You may email me at dan.ahlers@sdlegislature.gov.

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2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Tom Pischke Week 4 Update

Pischke_2017The South Dakota Legislature concluded its fourth week of session on February 2nd.  Below are some of the notable bills currently being considered.

SENATE BILLS

• SB 46 changes the rules for South Dakota schools with regards to the use of restraint and seclusion. SB 46 requires the school to notify parents in the event of a restraint, prohibits prone restraints, and forbids schools to confine children involuntarily. SB 46 passed Senate Education 5-1 and passed the Senate floor 32-3.

• SB 84 prohibits any state agency from entering into a confidential settlement with a third party. All settlements requiring monetary damages or equitable relief shall be a matter of public record. SB 84 passed Senate Judiciary 5-2 and passed the Senate Floor 21-13.

• SB 105 allows a physician to administer a toxicology test on a newborn baby (neonate is the first 28 days of life) if the child exhibits symptoms of illness related to drug abuse. SB 105 includes a provision to exempt a healthcare provider from criminal and civil liability both if this test is administered and if in good faith the provider decides against performing a toxicology test. SB 105 passed Senate Health and Human Services 6-1 and passed the Senate Floor 33-2.

• SB 64 changes the penalties for trafficking a minor. Previously, the criminal penalty for attempted trafficking was less severe than if the trafficking was completed. However, since many human traffickers are caught in stings, which only allows a criminal charge for attempted trafficking, in that scenario the offender would receive half the prison sentence. SB 64 changes statute so that attempted trafficking and trafficking both receive the same criminal penalty. SB 64 passed both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate floor unanimously.

• SB 79 would allow independents to sign nominating petitions for candidates. Current law only allows members of the candidate’s party to sign nominating petitions. This bill passed State Affairs with no opposing votes and it passed the Senate Floor 24-10.

HOUSE BILLS

• HB 1008 allows the Secretary of Transportation to set temporary variable speed limits in the state trunk highway system and interstates. The bill is meant to be used in cases of severe weather, road conditions, or road work. Violations of the temporary speed limit would be a class 2 misdemeanor. This bill passed the House Transportation committee 12-0 and passed the House Floor 52-16.

• HB 1093 Allows insurance policies to be printed in languages other than English. HB 1093 passed the House Commerce and Energy Committee 9-4 and passed the House Floor 57-11.

• HB 1073 protects free speech on South Dakota’s college campuses. HB 1073 prevents South Dakota’s public college campuses from limiting free speech as outlined in the first Amendment unless the speech involved includes a direct threat or other forms of lawless behavior. HB 1073 will be heard in the House Judiciary Committee Friday February 2nd.

• HB 1081 expands the sunset clause for the non-meandered waters compromise until 2021. This bill passed House State Affairs 11-1 and passed the House Floor 51-12. This bill will be heard in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee later this week.

• HJR 1001 would change the current law regarding legislator pay and amend the Constitution to make it one fifth of median South Dakota pay. This resolution would submit the issue to the ballot for the voters to approve the change. This resolution passed out of House State Affairs 9-3 and passed the House floor as amended 38-26.

If you have any questions and/or comments on these bills or any other legislation, please email me at tom.pischke@sdlegislature.gov

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2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Dan Ahlers Week 3 Update

dan_ahlersGreetings from Pierre. This week, I will provide an update on a few of the bills that I am bringing this session as well as an update on the Appropriation budget hearings.

Last week, I talked about HB 1089, which repeals the SD Certified Beef Fund. Some members of the agricultural community reached out this week and wanted to salvage this underutilized program. In the spirit of cooperation, I recommended to the committee we hold of action on this program for 1 year. During the summer, we will look at ways to improve the current program and sources of funding. Last year, the legislature voted (which I opposed) to sweep $100,000 from this fund to balance the state budget. The fund sweep left the current balance in this fund at $564.05.

On Thursday, HB 1076 passed out of House Taxation by a vote of 13 to 1. This bill will give townships the ability to use their current tax levy for fire protection to include emergency medical services. Many of our local townships had been supporting ambulance services until a judge ruled that it violated state law. I was approached by the President of the Minnehaha Towns and Township Board to sponsor this bill to fix the problem. This bill does not raise taxes, but it allows more flexibility and control at the local level.

In Appropriations, we continued state agency budget hearings. We reviewed budgets for the Department of Corrections, Military and Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services and the Attorney General’s Office.

Despite the Governor’s criminal justice reform initiative, prison populations continue to grow. We are near or at capacity in all of our prison facilities. In order to help address some of the challenges facing our corrections system, the Appropriations Committee will recommend the department go through the LEAN process. The LEAN approach is aimed at waste minimization. The goal is to improve the process used to release and integrate non-violent offenders back into the population and reduce the recidivism rate. The Appropriations Committee has recommended that other departments like BIT and the Department of Revenue complete this process. The results have been encouraging. Each of these departments has improved its customer service and shown an increase in productivity without increasing costs.

Humans Services provided their annual report on provider reimbursement rates for community-based service providers. This year’s appropriation was intended to get providers to 100% of cost. Unfortunately, it appears this reimbursement rate scale is flawed. Providers, like nursing homes, still struggle to pay competitive wages and keep up with rising health care costs. Many nursing homes are contracting with temp-labor agencies to fill vacant positions. Due to low Medicaid reimbursement rates, many nursing homes are turning away high risk patients. Many of these patients end up in facilities out-of-state and away from their families.

The Attorney General’s Office gave a positive report. Last year, the AG forecasted increased costs and the need for additional staff due to reporting requirements from Marsy’s Law. In this year’s budget, Jackley recommended a reduction in spending authority and staff because Marsy’s Law did not have the anticipated increased expenses. Jackley also recommended that we reinstate the Governor’s proposed cuts to Elder Abuse Task Force. The Governor’s cuts include one prosecutor and one investigator. These positions are needed due to an increase in elder fraud cases. This program has been highly effective and in 2017 resulted in restitution of $232,476 from convictions.

It will be important to hear from you during session. I would appreciate your input on any issue or concerns. You may email me at dan.ahlers@sdlegislature.gov.

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2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Tom Pischke Week 3 Update

Pischke_2017The South Dakota Legislature concluded its third week of session Thursday.  Below are some of the notable bills currently being considered.

SENATE BILLS

•SB 67 expunges the criminal record of sex trafficking victims under the age of 18. Minors who are found to have been a part of a trafficking ring may apply to the court for expungement provided they did not engage in other criminal activities. SB 67 passed both Senate Judiciary and the Senate floor unanimously.

SB 56 changes the eligibility and requirements for disabled and elderly individuals to receive refunds for sales tax and property tax. This bill contains an emergency clause and it passed Senate Appropriations and the Senate floor without opposition.

•SB 11 changes the time frame in which a ballot committee may submit their proposal to LRC. This bill passed Senate State affairs with one no vote and passed the Senate Floor 30-3

•SB 10 provides a solution in the event there are two ballot measures in conflict with one another in the same election year. While a Constitutional Amendment would still supersede a change in statute, if two laws conflict the one with the most votes would be the winner. This bill passed both Senate State Affairs and the Senate floor without opposition.

•SB 9 would require a fiscal note, compiled by LRC, to accompany both initiated measures and constitutional amendments to determine the cost or lack thereof to the state upon passage. This bill passed Senate State Affairs 7-2 and Passed the Senate Floor 29-6

•SB 79 would allow independents to sign nominating petitions for candidates. Current law only allows members of the candidate’s party to sign nominating petitions. This bill passed State Affairs with no opposing votes and it passed the Senate Floor 24-10.

HOUSE BILLS

•HB 1058 removes the requirement for the superintendent of the South Dakota School for the Deaf to be proficient in sign language. The reason for this change is that the School for the Visually Impaired and the School for the Deaf have now been combined. This bill passed House State Affairs unanimously and passed the House Floor with two no votes.

•HB 1103 requires State agencies to properly display the Great Seal of South Dakota. This bill contains provisions to protect satirical renderings to remain consistent with the First Amendment. This bill passed House State Affairs with no opposition.

•HB 1032 Exempts credit unions from the requirement to licensed real estate brokers. This bill passed House Commerce and Energy with no opposition and passed the House Floor 46-19.

•HB 1081 removes the sunset clause for the non-meandered waters laws.  This bill passed the House Floor 51-12.

•HB 1100 requires a printed name to go along with a signature on all public contracts. The reason for this change is a public contract involving an illegible signature. This bill passed State Affairs unanimously and passed the House Floor with only one no vote.

•HJR 1001 would change the current law regarding legislator pay and amend the Constitution to make it one fifth of median South Dakota pay.  This was vigorously debated on Thursday, January 25th.  I voted No on the bill but it still passed the House Floor 38-26.

If you have any questions and/or comments on these bills or any other legislation, please email me at tom.pischke@sdlegislature.gov

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Dells Rapids Resident Recognized

MoeL

Photo courtesy of Rhonda Rentz

During halftime of the Quarrier boys basketball against Vermillion on Thursday, January 25th, a Dell Rapids resident was honored by a group of fellow Dell Rapids residents.  Moe Lickteig was recognized for this thousands of hours of dedication to coaching youth sports, which he continues to do with his grandchildren, in Dell Rapids.  Lickteig received a letter from South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and a plaque.  Mike Henriksen and Gary Croon presented Lickteig with the honor.

A group of Dell Rapids citizens have decided that it would be a great idea to celebrate the things that make Dell Rapids great, which are the residents of Dell Rapids!  This group is not affiliated with the schools, booster clubs, or chamber, but rather is just a group of residents that will be looking to honor fellow residents for the great things they do for the community!

Lickteig was their first honoree to be recognized.  Lickteig was surprised with the honor at the basketball game.  The group honored Lickteig at the game because they “the gym was the place to find Moe.”

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Six Students Earn Outstanding Performer Awards

OneActPlaySix students from the Dell Rapids community earned Outstanding Performer Awards for their performances at their respective regional one-act play festivals.

The Dell Rapids St Mary team performed at the Region 3B One-Act play festival on Tuesday, January 23rd.  St Mary placed third in the regional performance at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse in Madison.  Courtney Geraets and Thomas Eining earned the Outstanding Performer Awards.

The Dell Rapids cast and crew performed at the Region 3A One-Act play festival on Wednesday, January 24th.  Their festival was also held at the Dakota Prairie Playhouse in Madison.  Outstanding Performance Awards were earned by Tayte Gleason, Jay Holm, Isabella Tesnow, and Carter Wynja.

The South Dakota State One-Act Play Festival will be held February 1st through 3rd at the Brandon Valley HS Performing Arts Center in Brandon.

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DRMS Students Have GenCyber Day with DSU

DRMS_GenCyber_1Each grade level from the Dell Rapids Middle School was able to participate in the GenCyber Day for 35 minutes each on Friday, January 19. Students had the opportunity to work with littleBits, Dash robots, Ozobots, or the BB-8 robots. littleBits offered students the chance to build items that moved, made noise, or had lights blink. The Dash and BB-8 robots allowed students to code the robots using a mobile device to move or perform tasks. Students using the Ozobots (a robot the size of a bouncy ball) used blank sheets of paper to draw pathways with markers for the Ozobots to follow. Students were also able to use a particular scene to change the direction or speed of the Ozobots.

Dr. Ashley Podhradsky, an associate professor from Dakota State University in Madison, led of a group of undergraduate and graduate students that helped students with each station. DRMS_GenCyber_2

“While all of the connected toys are fun to play with, they all teach important fundamentals of computer science.  The kids learn linear logic they can apply as they advance their skills.  We know kids won’t be experts in a day, but if we can get them interested in cyber that is a big win,” commented Dr. Podhradsky.

DRMS_GenCyber_3Scott Headrick, one of the K-12 Technology Integrationists for the Dell Rapids School District, thought the event went well.  “We have great kids in Dell Rapids. It was wonderful to have students get an opportunity to learn problem solving skills and computer science! It was great to have Dr. Podhradsky and the DSU students lead us in such fun, learning activities!”

Submitted by Scott Headrick

 

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2018 SD Legislative Sessions – Dan Ahlers Week 2 Update

dan_ahlersGreetings from Pierre. This week, I will cover a few of the bills that I am bringing this session as well as an update on the Appropriation budget process.

With all the new laws written and approved each session, it is equally important to remove unnecessary laws. In 2005, the state created the South Dakota Beef Program. While this program never really got off the ground, money was put into a Certified Beef Fund to administer this program. Over the last 10 years, the fund has paid auditing fees and has been swept by the legislature to balance the state budget. Today, $564.05 remains in the fund. HB 1089 will repeal this legislation and transfer the remaining money into the Rural Rehabilitation Fund under the Department of Agriculture. The state will continue to maintain the South Dakota Beef trademark and will be able to administer its use through the Department of Agriculture.

During session, legislators often work and vote on bills that cleanup mistakes from previous years or old and redundant language. In HB 1077, I will replace the term “mentally retarded” with “intellectually impaired.” In 2010, Congress passed Rosa’s Law which changed references to “mental retardation” to “intellectually impaired” in federal law. The change comes from the negative use and connotations of the term “mentally retarded.” This term is considered extremely offensive for whom the term is applied.

One of Dennis Daugaard’s priorities during his tenure as governor has been the sale of surplus property. If the state does not have a use for land or a building, it should be sold and returned to the tax roll. The question becomes what is the best use of the money from these sales? Sometimes, the property is held in trust. If trust land is sold, the money from that sale returns to a trust fund under School and Public Lands. The money earned is then used to for the purpose of the trust. For example, when STAR Academy was sold, the proceeds went to a Corrections Trust. Each year, a disbursement from this fund goes to fund the corrections training program.

Last year, we voted to sell surplus property from the Veterans Home in Hot Springs. Because the land is not held in a trust, the money goes to the General Fund. I have introduced HB 1090 to appropriate the money from this land sale to the Michael J. Fitzmaurice Endowment Fund. This fund was created by the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs to benefit the activities of the veterans at the SD Veteran’s Home. I believe this is the best use of these dollars. If the money remains in the General Fund, we will spend it this year and it will be gone. We can take these same dollars and place them in the endowment. Doing this will cause the endowment and the annual disbursement to grow each year. The money we invest today will continue to serve our veterans long after we have left this earth.

In Appropriations, we continued` state agency budget hearings. We reviewed 10 state agency budgets including Transportation, Revenue, Tourism, and Game, Fish and Parks. Most departments have requested minimal or no increase in spending. The Appropriations Committee is concerned with the governor’s no increase recommendation in wages for state workers. South Dakota lags behind its neighbors in state wages. The state also pays far less than the private sector for similar jobs within the state. This disparity has made it difficult for state agencies to fill vacant positions. With many “Baby Boomers” retiring from the workforce, the problem is compounded. The Appropriations Committee has made it a priority to find the funding to provide some kind of increase this year for state workers.

It will be important to hear from you during session. I would appreciate your input on any issue or concerns. You may email me at dan.ahlers@sdlegislature.gov.

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