Senate passes bill to support career, technical education

Senate passes bill to support career, technical education
(CNS) � The state should support career and technical education, the State Senate decided Feb. 13.

The Senate passed a bill that would give $1 million to career and technical education programs. Sen. Orville Smidt, R-Brookings, said these programs involve students and encourage them to pursue a secondary education.

"CTE motivates kids to stay in school," said the bill's sponsor.

Under SB168, the $1 million would come from the growth in the contractors excise tax. The $1 million is a small investment to prepare students in the technological age, said Sen. Stan Adlestein, R-Rapid City.

CTE prepares students in a variety of technical, health care and industrial careers.

"It's not just going into a general fund, we actually check if it is making a difference," Smidt said.

Larry Zikmund of the SD Association of Career and Technical Education and the Associated General Contractors – Building Chapter said these programs train students and offer businesses more qualified workers.

Smidt said the Legislature gave money to the career and technical education three yeas ago.

"The need for increased funding to the CTE systems remains the same," he said in committee testimony.

But some feel $1 million is too much.

"One million dollars is a great deal of money and the governor's budget has been very clear and our budget has been very clear in what we can spend on education," said Wade Pogany of the Department of Education.

Sen. Clarence Kooistra, R-Garretson, said the bill would hurt K-12 funding.

"When we have kids in trailers in K-12, we need to get our priorities straight," he said.

The bill passed 27-8.

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