A trio of bills in the South Dakota Legislature focus on prohibiting certain components of collective bargaining in education. The leader of the South Dakota Education Association is concerned about the potential impact.

House Speaker Mark Mickelson of Sioux Falls is the prime sponsor of the legislation and SDEA President Mary McCorkle fears that if enacted, the rules would significantly mute efforts to improve education quality.

“We talk about valuing education and educators. If we pass legislation that takes away their voice, I’m not sure that value that we espouse is really true.”

McCorkle also told the Patrick Lalley Show on KSOO that she sees a consistent pattern when adding the current legislation with bills that were passed in 2017.

“All I know is that last year, the four tech institutes lost collective bargaining. We have a bill now to strip collective bargaining from our six universities. There isn’t much of anybody left.”

In particular, HB1198 specifically targets the SDEA according to McCorkle. For example, a teacher doing Association work at the request of the school district would have to do it outside of school hours, take personal leave or unpaid leave.

Since South Dakota is a right to work state, McCorkle says it makes it difficult for SDEA to provide those services which are required by law.

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