During the 2023 Legislative Session in South Dakota, Senate Bill 118 (SB 118), an act to expand eligibility for certain teachers who receive reduced tuition at Board of Regents institutions was introduced. Currently in South Dakota, K-12 teachers are eligible to receive up to six credit hours per year at half the standard tuition rate. Before SB 118, Head Start teachers were not afforded this same tuition reduction even though, in some instances, the head start teachers were in the same building as K-12 teachers.
SB118, introduced by Senator Erin Tobin (District 21 – Winner) and Representative Rebecca Reimer (District 26B – Chamberlain), added Head Start teachers to the list of those qualifying for the reduced tuition. Senator Tobin discussed the idea with a constituent and Head Start employee and decided to move forward with the proposal, stating this was good for those who want to stay in their community and teach as well as the teacher workforce in general.
The South Dakota Head Start Association (SDHSA) was excited to work on the idea with Senator Tobin and Representative Reimer. “This proposal was exciting to work on during the legislative session,” stated Katie Sieverding, Executive Director of SDHSA. “The way the idea came to fruition is an excellent example of the legislative process and creating needed change for our teachers.”
SB 118 was signed by the Governor on March 23, 2023, and is in effect as of July 1st. SDHSA applauds the Legislature and Governor Noem in their support for Head Start educators in the state.