Special Session

I’m calling for a special session to address our state’s education needs. We are beholden only to those who put us into office. That is why I’m calling for a special session. We need to provide our education system long-term stability.

The legislature needs to offer the solution and the Governor needs to let us. There is separation of powers for a reason. I don’t think the people of South Dakota are thrilled that a group of 26 individuals will present a previously agreed upon set of funding mechanisms to fill the problem and that the task forces’ prescribed solutions will be the only ones allowed at the table.

Tami helping with the organizational skills when sending out 102 certified letters, calling for a “Special Session”

That’s our job we hold the power of the purse. 54% of our education funding comes from local taxpayers. Our taxpayers prioritize education. Furthermore, our taxpayers want the decisions to come from all their elected officials. It’s time to move decisions back to representation of the people and free up our teachers and local school boards.

I will make public 15 days after the date the letters are sent who supported this “Special Session.” It’s important for the citizens of South Dakota to know who holds educational needs a priority in the State of South Dakota.


Rep. Elizabeth May, District 27

Following is background on the “Blue Ribbon Task Force” and the email all legislators received prior to the meeting held in Rapid City.


During the last SD Legislative Session SB53 moved the funding of the state mandated assessments, technology and sparsity in a sperate bill. As the South Dakota DOE said in all the presentations to the appropriations committee, “All they are asking is the local taxpayer to share in these costs.” If the state is going to mandate testing and technology, then the state should fully cover those costs.

Over $680,000 was spent in annual fees that SD pays to belong to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The total for the three-year contract will be over $2 million. They are call fees rather than dues, because dues are set, but fees can increase according to the number of tests administered.

Now to the “Blue Ribbon Task Force”.  As a legislator I was very optimistic about the task force. I had planned on attending the scheduled meetings. Yesterday, all legislators received a email from the Gov.’s Chief of Staff on behalf of the Co-Chairs Sen Deb Sohlt and Rep. Jacque Sly. Following is excerpt:

Greetings to our Legislative Colleagues!

 We have the privilege of co-chairing the Blue Ribbon Task Force on K-12 Teachers and Students to reevaluate the current funding formula, collect and analyze data, engage with stakeholders and seek public input.  We will then make recommendations to the 2016 Legislature for reform.

 With the focus on solely on education funding and teacher pipeline, we will not be considering standards/curriculum, assessments, student achievement etc.  

 The Technology and Innovation in Education (TIE) group is helping with overall facilitation for the effort (as when PEW assisted with criminal justice and juvenile justice reform).

 We want to update you on the status of the work, and invite you to come to scheduled meetings to listen/observe public input.

I don’t know how you discuss education funding without discussing the Common Core, assessments and federal mandates for which the South Dakota Department of Education has become the enforcement arm.

I don’t know how you discuss the teacher pipeline without discussing the Common Core and its underlying message that we can’t trust teachers to teach. I don’t know one teacher who went into teaching to create data points and spend their days doing test prep. Will they look at this as contributing to the teacher shortage?

Please remember that at the same time, schools were being forced to take cuts, teacher salaries were either frozen or cut, the state chose to adopt unproven content standards which required professional development for teachers to learn an unproven pedagogy.

And what an affront to legislators. To be asked not to participate and to support the work of this panel. What if there is a disagreement? I wasn’t aware that we elected representatives to support the vision of a governor appointed panel.

And those stakeholders the panel is working with, here’s a little on those organizations.

South Dakota PTA – We know the national PTA has accepted funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote the Common Core.

SDEA South Dakota Education Association – We know that the NEA (National Education Association has accepted funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to, among other things, develop Common Core aligned curriculum. The SDEA is one of the organizations that works very hard legislatively to prevent the repeal or defunding of the Common Core.

TIE Technology & Innovation in Education – This organization is the South Dakota arm of mass customized learning, the program where students spend their time with an electronic device guiding their learning vs. a teacher guiding their learning. They have partnered with the SD Department of Education.

ASBSD Associated School Boards of South Dakota – This organization is also very busy legislatively blocking the removal of the Common Core Standards and testing. The National School Board Association has accepted Gates Foundation Grant money.

SASD School Administrators of South Dakota – This organization is comprised of Elementary and Secondary Principals and Superintendents. This organization works very hard to block legislation removing the Common Core and the testing.

If the legislators appointed to the “Blue Ribbon Task Force” were listening to the small group discussions they’d find participants having meaningful discussions about what is really costing schools money. They’d be hearing how these added “costs of compliance” and “cost of state and federal mandates” are effecting their classrooms, teachers and children. After receiving the email from Chief of Staff Tony Venhuizen on behalf of Co-Chairs Sen. Deb Soholt and Rep. Jacque Sly it’s obvious that non-participation from legislators (who are also taxpayers and citizens of SD) is part of the controlled environment.” I think this strategy is referred to as “Delphi Technique” used to control the output of a group and make them all think they had participation.

Rep. Elizabeth May, District 27





Pursuant to and in accordance with the provisions of Article III, Section 31, of the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, I hereby petition the presiding officers of both houses of the Legislature to convene a special session of the Legislature, to commence at 10:00 a.m. on August 17, 2015 and to adjourn as determined by the Legislature, for the sole purpose of addressing the system of educating elementary and secondary students in the state. The special session shall address the teachers, facilities, and resources needed to provide a quality education including possible sources for increased funding for education, the length of the school year, the pay for teachers, the use of technology in education, and the assessments used to measure academic progress.

In witness thereof, I subscribe my signature.




FirstName LastName Body Politics District HomePhone HomeAddress1 HomeCity HomeZip
NO David Anderson H R 16 605-957-6510 29177 477th Ave. Hudson 57034
NO Julie Bartling H D 21 605-835-8120 28921 US Hwy. 18 Gregory 57533
NO Arch Beal H R 12 605-336-3034 4815 N. Northview Ave. Sioux Falls 57107
NO Jim Bolin H R 16 605-261-9669 403 West 11th St. Canton 57013-2418
NO Shawn Bordeaux H D 26A PO Box 283 Mission 57555
YES Jim Bradford S D 27 605-685-4241 PO Box 690 Pine Ridge 57770-0690
NO Corey Brown S R 23 605-769-0540 316 S. Potter St. Gettysburg 57442
NO Thomas Brunner H R 29 605-257-2336 18769 Quin Road Nisland 57762-7646
NO Angie Buhl O’Donnell S D 15 605-376-2512 521 N. Prairie Sioux Falls 57104
NO Gary Cammack S R 29 605-985-5591 PO Box 100 Union Center 57787-0100
YES Blaine “Chip” Campbell H R 35 605-393-1645 3480 Colvin St. Rapid City 57703
Kristin Conzet H R 32 605-342-6658 1523 West Blvd Rapid City 57701-4551
NO Scott Craig H R 33 605-342-0999 8556 Heather Dr. Rapid City 57702-7710
NO Justin Cronin H R 23 PO Box 42 Gettysburg 57442
R. Blake Curd S R 12 605-331-5890 38 S. Riverview Hts. Sioux Falls 57105
Fred Deutsch H R 04 605-882-3323 16452 449th Ave. Florence 57235
YES Lynne DiSanto H R 35 605-389-0111 4973 Hansen Lane Rapid City 57703
 NO Dan Dryden H R 34 605-721-2902 2902 Tomahawk Dr. Rapid City 57702-4250
 NO Mary Duvall H R 24 605-224-4070 PO Box 453 Pierre 57501
NO Bob Ewing S R 31 605-722-5559 PO Box 607 Spearfish 57783
NO Dennis Feickert H D 01 605-225-5844 38485 129th St Aberdeen 57401-8386
NO Scott Fiegen S R 25 605-428-5504 203 E. 4th St. Dell Rapids 57022
NO Jason Frerichs S D 01 605-938-4273 13507 465th Avenue Wilmot 57279
NO Peggy Gibson H D 22 605-352-9862 1010 Valley View Ct. Huron 57350-4221
Brian Gosch H R 32 605-719-3365 312 Alta Vista Dr. Rapid City 57701-2337
YES Lana Greenfield H R 02 605-635-6932 PO Box 243 Doland 57436
YES Brock Greenfield S R 02 605-532-4088 507 N. Smith St. Clark 57225-1250
Jenna Haggar S R 10 605-610-9779 PO Box 763 Sioux Falls 57101
Don Haggar H R 10 605-360-8130 PO Box 1532 Sioux Falls 57101
NO Michele Harrison H R 23 605-850-9989 PO Box 303 Mobridge 57601
NO Steven Haugaard H R 10 605-332-1171 47629 258th St. Sioux Falls 57104
NO Terri Haverly S R 35 22983 Candlelight Dr. Rapid City 57703
Paula Hawks H D 09 605-254-2440 405 S. Tessa Ave. Hartford 57033
 NO Spencer Hawley H D 07 605-692-9716 1215 W. 8th St. S. Brookings 57006-2972
Phyllis Heineman S R 13 605-339-2167 2005 S. Phillips Sioux Falls 57105-2939
NO Leslie Heinemann H R 08 605-997-2654 47962 228th St. Flandreau 57028-6701
Troy Heinert S D 26 605-856-5045 PO Box 348 Mission 57555
Steve Hickey H R 09 605-321-5430 4501 N. Ellis Rd. Sioux Falls 57107
NO Ried Holien S R 05 605-886-4330 PO Box 443 Watertown 57201
NO Thomas Holmes H R 14 4709 Shields Ave. Sioux Falls 57103
Bernie Hunhoff S D 18 605-665-2975 707 Riverside Dr. Yankton 57078
Jean Hunhoff H R 18 605-665-1463 2511 Mulligan Dr Yankton 57078
NO Roger Hunt H R 25 605-582-3865 PO Box 827 Brandon 57005
NO Alex Jensen H R 12 5915 S. Remington Pl. Sioux Falls 57108
YES Phil Jensen S R 33 605-343-1335 10215 Pioneer Ave. Rapid City 57702
NO Timothy Johns H R 31 605-722-3189 203 W. Main St. Lead 57754
YES Dan Kaiser H R 03 605-228-4988 1415 Nicklaus Dr. Aberdeen 57401-8822
Kevin Killer H D 27 605-454-8105 PO Box 322 Pine Ridge 57770-0322
NO Patrick Kirschman H D 15 605-366-4798 901 N. Duluth Ave. #1 Sioux Falls 57104-2328
 NO Joshua Klumb H R 20 605-770-9708 26296 401st Ave. Mount Vernon 57363
Kris Langer H R 25 605-428-4929 600 W. 7th Street Dell Rapids 57022
NO Isaac Latterell H R 06 PO Box 801 Tea 57064
YES J. Sam Marty H R 28B 605-866-4477 16692 Antelope Rd. Prairie City 57649
YES Elizabeth May H R 27 605-455-2588 20261 BIA 2 Kyle 57752-7400
YES Steven McCleerey H D 01 605-698-7478 45708 116th St. Sisseton 57262-7019
NO G. Mark Mickelson H R 13 605-371-3365 101 N Main Ave., Suite 321 Sioux Falls 57105
 NO Jeff Monroe S R 24 605-224-0264 127 W. Dakota Ave. Pierre 57501
Scott Munsterman H R 07 605-691-9930 1133 W. 8th St. S. Brookings 57006
NO Al Novstrup H R 03 605-226-2505 1705 Northview Lane Aberdeen 57401-2268
NO David Novstrup S R 03 1008 S. Wells St. Aberdeen 57401-7373
YES Betty Olson S R 28 605-855-2824 11919 SD Hwy. 79 Prairie City 57649
David Omdahl S R 11 605-323-0098 PO Box 88235 Sioux Falls 57109-8235
NO Ernie Otten S R 06 605-368-5716 46787 273rd Tea 57064-8024
NO Herman Otten H R 06 605-498-5460 PO Box 326 Tea 57064-0325
NO Scott Parsley S D 08 605-256-4984 103 N. Liberty Ave. Madison 57042-2706
NO Jeffrey Partridge H R 34 605-718-1912 7174 Prestwick Road Rapid City 57702
NO Deb Peters S R 09 605-321-4168 705 N. Sagehorn Dr. Hartford 57033-2380
Kent Peterson H R 19 605-425-3299 440 E. Washington Ave. Salem 57058
 NO Jim Peterson S D 04 605-623-4573 16952 482nd Ave. Revillo 57259-5208
NO Lee Qualm H R 21 605-337-3682 27507 John Qualm Rd. Platte 57369
Bruce Rampelberg S R 30 605-343-9703 13948 Lariat Rd. Rapid City 57702
 NO Nancy Rasmussen H R 17 605-238-5321 28639 458th Ave. Hurley 57036-6410
NO Ray Ring H D 17 605-675-9379 607 Sterling Street Vermillion 57069-3453
NO Fred Romkema H R 31 605-722-1432 230 Fairway Drive Spearfish 57783-3110
NO Tim Rounds H R 24 605-224-6588 1813 Abbey Rd. Pierre 57501
NO Tona Rozum H R 20 605-996-2190 87 S. Harmon Dr. Mitchell 57301
NO Arthur Rusch S R 17 605-624-8723 PO Box 312 Vermillion 57069-0312
YES Lance Russell H R 30 605-745-6871 1938 Lincoln Ave. Hot Springs 57747
NO James Schaefer H R 26B 605-869-2357 23026 SD Hwy. 273 Kennebec 57544-5201
NO Lee Schoenbeck H R 05 PO Box 1325 Watertown 57201
 NO Kyle Schoenfish H R 19 605-660-6468 42472 Maxwell Rd. Scotland 57059-7106
YES Dean Schrempp H D 28A 605-964-6541 1999 Trails end, Box 62 Lantry 57636
NO William Shorma S R 16 605-422-3282 21 Spanish Bay Dakota Dunes 57049
NO Jacqueline Sly H R 33 605-343-4956 22560 Potter Rd. Rapid City 57702-6132
NO Deb Soholt S R 14 605-321-5931 2628 E. Regency Ct. Sioux Falls 57103
NO Alan Solano S R 32 605-342-8974 3410 Wisconsin Ave. Rapid City 57701
NO Karen Soli H D 15 605-338-5934 810 W. 6th St. Sioux Falls 57104-2904
NO Roger Solum H R 05 605-882-7056 1333 Mayfair Drive Watertown 57201-1155
YES Jim Stalzer H R 11 605-838-0354 5909 W. Bristol Dr. Sioux Falls 57106-0660
Mike Stevens H R 18 605-661-0057 214 Marina Dell Yankton 57078
NO Billie Sutton S D 21 919 Franklin St. Burke 57523
NO Larry Tidemann S R 07 605-692-1267 251 Indian Hills Rd. Brookings 57006
Craig Tieszen S R 34 605-348-4990 3416 Brookside Dr. Rapid City 57702-8118
NO Burt Tulson H R 02 605-785-3480 44975 SD Hwy. 28 Lake Norden 57248
NO Bill Van Gerpen S R 19 605-589-3064 PO Box 10 Tyndall 57066
NO Mike Vehle S R 20 605-996-5778 132 N. Harmon Dr. Mitchell 57301
 NO Mike Verchio H R 30 605-574-2466 289 Rainbow Ridge Ct. Hill City 57745
NO Dick Werner H R 22 605-353-0957 1505 McDonald Dr. Huron 57350
Steve Westra H R 13 605-271-1623 5100 S. Twinleaf Dr. Sioux Falls 57108
Jim White S R 22 605-352-8184 1145 Beach Circle NE Huron 57350-4700
 NO John Wiik H R 04 605-880-1440 PO Box 95 Big Stone City 57216
NO Mark Willadsen H R 11 605-361-6104 7712 W. Benelli Circle Sioux Falls 57106-7790
NO Dean Wink H R 29 605-985-5240 PO Box 137 Howes 57748-0137
Mathew Wollmann H R 08 605-480-3038 210 W. Center St., Apt. 302 Madison 57042
NO Larry Zikmund H R 14 605-373-0975 2405 E. 52nd St. Sioux Falls 57103

Recent Posts

Legislative Week 8

Legislative Week 8

We’ve finally reached the home stretch! I think everyone will be glad this session is behind us.
This coming week the focus will be on the General Bill. The Governors proposed budget for FY 2019 is $4,655,323,547.
Following is the break down:
$1,615,672,243 is General Funds
$1,681,171,355 in Federal funds
$1,358,479,949 Other Funds.
In 2015 the actual budget was $3,851,634,982 and in 2018 its $4,600,525,575 increase in General, Federal and Other Funds of $748,890,593. General Funds saw an increase of $253,630,496 and Other Funds saw and increase of $202,990,054.
Some of the increases reflect SB 1 (Roads & Bridge Fund) estimated at the time increasing revenue $202 million and the more recent ½ cent sales tax increase. I think the actuals came in below the estimated increase of $110 million.
Also, interesting to note is the increase of FTE’s from 2015-2019. In 2015 the state had 13,259.3 employees and FY 2019 shows FTE’S at 13,905.9 an increase of 646.3 in four years.
Most of the budget has been dealt with, but on Monday the Appropriations will continue with the DOE and DSS budgets.
If you’re familiar with the story of “Chicken Little” you can about imagine all the acorns falling in Pierre.
As always, you can contact me at the House Chamber number 773-3851. Leave a phone number and I’ll call you back. The fax number is 773-6806. If you send a fax, address it to Rep. Elizabeth May. You can also email me at Elizabeth.May@sdlegislature.gov during session. You can keep track of bills and committee meetings at this link: http://legis.state.sd.us/ You can also use this link to find the legislators, see what committees they are on, read all the bills and track the status of each bill, listen to committee hearings, and contact legislators.

  1. Legislative Week 7 Comments Off on Legislative Week 7
  2. Legislative Week 6 Comments Off on Legislative Week 6
  3. Legislative Week 5 Comments Off on Legislative Week 5
  4. Legislative Week 4 Comments Off on Legislative Week 4
  5. Legislative Week 3 Comments Off on Legislative Week 3
  6. Kirkegaard Nomination Comments Off on Kirkegaard Nomination
  7. Legislative Week 2 Comments Off on Legislative Week 2
  8. Legislative Week One Comments Off on Legislative Week One
  9. Comments Off on
  10. Legislative Week 7 February 24,2017 Comments Off on Legislative Week 7 February 24,2017
  11. Legislative Week 6 Feb. 16, 2017 Comments Off on Legislative Week 6 Feb. 16, 2017
  12. Legislative Week 5 Comments Off on Legislative Week 5
  13. Legislative Week 4 2017 Comments Off on Legislative Week 4 2017
  14. Legislative Week 3 Comments Off on Legislative Week 3
  15. Legislative Week 2 January 20, 2017 Comments Off on Legislative Week 2 January 20, 2017
  16. January 13, 2017 Week One Comments Off on January 13, 2017 Week One
  17. Feb. 17-21, 2014 Comments Off on Feb. 17-21, 2014
  18. Legislative Week Feb.10-14 Comments Off on Legislative Week Feb.10-14
  19. Legislative Week Feb. 3-7 2014 Comments Off on Legislative Week Feb. 3-7 2014