South Dakota Teachers Union Veto Referendum, Referred Law 16 (2012)

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Referred Law 16
Flag of South Dakota.png
Click here for the latest news on U.S. ballot measures
Quick stats
Type:Veto referendum
Referred by:Citizens
Topic:Labor and unions
The South Dakota Teachers Union Veto Referendum, or Referred Law 16 was on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the state of South Dakota as a veto referendum, where it was defeated. The measure would have blocked a bill that was signed into law and supported by South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard that would give bonuses to high performing teachers, ban tenure and recruit potential candidates for teaching jobs that were deemed important and critical. The veto referendum effort against the bill was organized by the South Dakota Education Association.[1]

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results

The following are official election results:

South Dakota Referred Law 16
Defeatedd No235,06467.23%
Yes 114,590 32.77%

Official results via South Dakota Secretary of State.

Text of measure

The official ballot text reads as follows:[2]

Title: An education reform act to establish a teacher scholarship program; create a program for math and science teacher bonuses; create a program for teacher merit bonuses; mandate a uniform teacher and principal evaluation system; and eliminate state requirements for teacher tenure.

Explanation: Referred Law 16 is an education reform act with five key components. First, it establishes a scholarship program for eligible college students who commit to teach in South Dakota in critical need subject areas.
Second, the referred law creates a program to provide state-funded annual bonuses for eligible math and science teachers.
Third, the referred law develops a separate “Top Teachers” bonus program. This program provides annual state-funded merit bonuses for up to 20% of each school district’s full-time certified teachers, as awarded by the local school boards. Alternatively, a school board may enact its own program for teacher bonuses, using these state-provided funds. A school board may opt out of these merit bonus programs altogether, resulting in re-allocation of its merit bonus funds to other participating school districts.
Fourth, the referred law mandates a uniform statewide system for evaluating teachers and principals, including a rating system.
Fifth, the referred law eliminates state requirements for continuing contracts (“tenure”) for teachers who do not achieve tenure by July 1, 2016. School boards may, in their discretion, choose to offer continuing contracts to non-tenured teachers.

A vote “Yes” is to enact the education reform act.

A vote “No” is against the referred law.


The following is information obtained from the supporting side of bill, and were, therefore, those who would for "yes" on the measure.[1]

  • Gov. Daugaard stated when signatures for the veto referendum were turned in, "I look forward to furthering the discussion with the people of South Dakota on this important topic. The bill is aimed at improving student achievement by channeling extra money directly to our best teachers and phasing out teacher tenure."


The following is information obtained from the opposing side of the bill, and were, therefore, those who would for "no" on the measure[1]

  • The South Dakota Education Association was the main proponent behind the veto referendum.
  • According to South Dakota Education Association President Sandy Arseneault, "We just feel strongly that it doesn't do what we all would like it to do, which is to improve student achievement."
  • According to Carrie Tucek, chemistry and physics teacher at Wagner Community School, "Teachers and administrators across our state have stood together against this bad legislation with the best interest and intentions for South Dakota schools and students. As South Dakota is my forever home that I love dearly, I have faith that the citizens of South Dakota will vote “no” for HB1234 (No. 16) on Nov. 6. I pray that each voter will prepare to make an educated decision when they vote and that educators will be included in any process of educational reform in South Dakota in the future."[3]

Path to the ballot

According to reports, supporters of the referendum, who were opponents of the Governor's bill, needed to turn in 15,855 valid signatures in order to put the law on hold until a November vote.

On June 18, 2012, referendum organizers turned in about 30,000 signatures to South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant's office. Gant's office had until July 1, 2012 to verify if enough signatures were valid.[1]

Signatures were verified by that date, allowing the measure to appear on the ballot as Referred Law 16.[4]

See also

External links