GOAC Votes Down Department Of Education Performance Report

(WNAX) — The Government Operations and Audit Committee of the South Dakota legislature is responsible for monitoring the performance of state departments and agencies. At their last meeting of the interim Monday, members of the panel voted against accepting the performance report from the state Department of Education. Committee Chairman, Senator Ryan Maher of Isabel, told Education Secretary Ben Jones they need more specific information…

“We have an outline, but we need to have the numbers. We need to know the starting point of point one. We need to know the starting point of point two, three, four. We need to know what the starting point is and we need to know which direction you’re working; up or down and know what the end outcome is gonna be and then we can gauge the speedometer in between as time goes on. But I think we have a great outline, we just need the numbers to go with that.”

Representative Sue Peterson of Sioux Falls says the report doesn’t meet their standards…

“These may be good starts when we’re talking about increasing and measuring and expanding and decreasing and measuring, but it’s…it’s not quite to the point yet of quantify while it comes in measures and I..I do think that that’s really important and I also think that consistency is important. We have required that of all the other agencies that have come before us. And so I think that it’s important that they’re all held to that same quantifiable outcome standard.”

The issue has been faltering scores on standardized student testing. Senator John Wiik of Big Stone City says Jones has limited authority…

“Doctor Jones is given the task of herding 149 cats with their own cat herders. So, with the issue of local control tied into this, he can suggest, he can direct, he can implement ideas, but there’s really no demand that can be delivered necessarily and especially across all 149 schools.”

The committee voted six to two to not accept the report and ask that they get better numbers after the end of the legislative session in March. The report from the department is supposed to be delivered no later than November 15th each year.