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Bill to create Native culture focused schools suddenly killed

(KOTA)
Published: Mar. 4, 2020 at 8:50 PM CST
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In the audio recording of the Education Committee hearing today, Rep. Lana Greenfield said "...we'll start with Senate Bill 66, please, this is an act to provide for creation and the funding of the Oceti [washi]...whatever it's called...community-based schools...."

An unceremonious start, and in the end, the bill was simply pushed to the 41st day; it's killed before getting a chance to a Senate hearing and a chance to be voted on. Just before today, the bill passed unanimously through Tribal Relations and Senate Education Committee, and went to the Senate floor with unanimous support as well. The bill was also supported by all 9 tribes. Members of Education Equity Coalition felt bewildered, as to why it didn't even get a chance of a vote.

Jonathan Santos Silva, Sr. said, "From unanimous support every level, to one or two voices killing the whole process, and stopping us from having that fair hearing, yea or nay, getting a vote one way or another to see where folks stood, that's the part that's just kind of having us scratching our heads."

Education Equity said, these community-based schools are another type of public schools with different opportunities for students. The one last measure for the bill is a procedure called "smoke out," where one third of the house legislators could ask the committee to assign a recommendation, instead of just killing it. Constituents who wish to support the bill can e-mail their house representatives and urge them to take this step.