Justia Education Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in South Dakota Supreme Court
Black Bear v. Mid-Central Educational Cooperative
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court dismissing students' claims seeking to recover for lost funding for services denied to them under the GEAR UP program due to mismanagement and embezzlement, holding that the students lacked standing to bring their claims. The students in this case attended schools that GEAR UP was meant to serve and now attended college. The students claimed to have been denied GEAR UP benefits in their schools due to embezzlement and negligent supervision, among other claims. The circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, concluding that the students had standing to bring their claims but that the claims were preempted by federal law. The Supreme Court affirmed but on other grounds, holding the students failed to show standing because they failed to show how an award of monetary damages would redress the alleged past loss of supplemental educational services. View "Black Bear v. Mid-Central Educational Cooperative" on Justia Law
State v. Bertram
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant of first-degree murder and sentencing him to life imprisonment. On appeal, Defendant argued that the circuit court (1) violated his Sixth Amendment right of cross-examination by refusing to admit evidence that Defendant passed a polygraph examination for the purpose of impeaching another witness’s testimony; and (2) improperly admitted character evidence used against him. The Supreme Court held (1) South Dakota’s per se rule against admitting polygraph-test results does not violate the Sixth Amendment, and the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by excluding Defendant’s polygraph evidence; and (2) the circuit court did not err by admitting evidence of Defendant’s sexual liaisons with three other women in the days leading up to the victim’s death. View "State v. Bertram" on Justia Law
State v. Bosworth
The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s convictions for six counts of perjury but affirmed her convictions for six counts of offering false or forged instruments for filing. The convictions stemmed from Defendant’s act of signing a sworn verification that she personally circulated nominating petitions containing voters’ signatures in order to get her name placed on the ballot for election to the United States Senate. Defendant, however, did not personally circulate these petitions, which she submitted to the Secretary of State. The Supreme Court held (1) signing a nominating petition under a written oath before submitting it to a state authority is not a statement made in a “proceeding or action” under S.D. Codified Laws 22-29-1, and therefore, the circuit court erred in denying Defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal on the perjury charges; (2) submitting a nominating petition with a circulator’s verification signed by someone other than the person who circulated the petition is offering a false or forged instrument under S.D. Codified Laws 22-11-28.1; and (3) there was sufficient evidence to support Defendant’s convictions for offering false or forged instruments for filing. View "State v. Bosworth" on Justia Law
Mauricio v. Daugaard
The Supreme Court held that the circuit court did not err in concluding that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), an educational consortium to which the State is a member, does not need congressional approval and that SBAC educational assessments do not violate S.D. Codified Laws 13-3-55, which requires, in part, that “[e]very public school district shall annually administer the same assessment to all students[.]” Specifically, the Court held (1) SBAC does not enhance state power quoad the national government and, therefore, does not need congressional approval, and therefore, the Court need not decide the State’s question on notice of review whether SBAC constitutes an interstate compact; and (2) contrary to Plaintiffs’ argument, SBAC assessments do not violate section 13-3-55 simply because every student does not receive the same test. View "Mauricio v. Daugaard" on Justia Law
Schaefer v. Tea Area Sch. Dist.
Petitioners - four residents of the Westwood Valley Addition to Sioux Falls, which is a part of the Tea Area School District (TASD) - submitted a petition to the Tea Area School Board requesting that the TASD’s boundary be changed to exclude their residences, which would instead be annexed by the Sioux Falls School District. After a publicly noticed meeting at which none of Petitioners appeared, either personally or through counsel, the Board denied the petition. One petitioner appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Petitioner’s appeal was properly before the Court; and (2) the Board’s denial of the petition for a minor boundary change was not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion. View "Schaefer v. Tea Area Sch. Dist." on Justia Law
Davis v. State
Plaintiffs, a group of children who attended public schools in several South Dakota school districts and their parents and natural guardians, asked for a declaratory ruling that the state's present system of funding education was unconstitutional because it did not provide all children with an adequate and quality education. At issue was (1) S.D. Const. art. 8, 1 & 15, which requires the Legislature to establish and maintain a general and uniform system of public schools and provide funding to secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state and (2) whether the legislative scheme for funding education met the constitutional requirements. The circuit court issued a judgment in favor of defendants, holding that the resources, curriculum, and facilities currently provided to students were constitutionally sufficient. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the current educational funding system failed to correlate with adequate student achievement to the point of declaring the system unconstitutional. View "Davis v. State " on Justia Law
Onnen v. Sioux Falls Indep. Sch. Dist.
Matt Onnen was terminated from the position of registrar at Southeast Technical Institute (STI), an entity of the Sioux Falls School District, after STI officials found several degrees or diplomas had been approved and awarded by Onnen to students who had not earned them, and several students entitled to a degree or diploma had not received one. The Sioux Falls School Board affirmed the decision. Onnen appealed the District's and Board's decision to circuit court, which affirmed the District. On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in concluding that the District's decision was not arbitrary and capricious or an abuse of discretion; (2) because Onnen was not a teacher at STI, he was not entitled to sixty days' notice before termination, and therefore Onnen was not denied procedural due process when he was terminated; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Onnen's motion for a new trial. View "Onnen v. Sioux Falls Indep. Sch. Dist." on Justia Law