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South Dakota school districts

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K-12 Education in South Dakota
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Melody Schopp
Number of students: 128,016[1]
Number of teachers: 9,247
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:13.8
Number of school districts: 171
Number of schools: 704
Graduation rate: 83%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $8,805[3]
See also
South Dakota Department of EducationList of school districts in South DakotaSouth DakotaSchool boards portal
Education policy logo.jpg
Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in South Dakota
Glossary of education terms
South Dakota is home to 171 school districts, 704 schools and 128,016 K-12 students.[4]

Quick facts

State school administrators

  • State Board of Education[5]
    • Donald A. Kirkegaard, President
    • Patricia Simmons, Vice President
    • Kelly Duncan
    • Glenna N. Fouberg
    • Richard Gowen
    • Marilyn Hoyt
    • Julie Mathiesen
    • Stacy Phelps
    • Terry Sabers


The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment.[6][7]

Enrollment, 2011-2012 ACT scores, 2013
1.) Sioux Falls School District 1.) Parkston School District
2.) Rapid City Area School District 2.) Brookings School District
3.) Aberdeen School District 3.) Milbank School District
4.) Watertown School District 4.) Brandon Valley School District
5.) Brandon Valley School District 5.) Pierre School District
6.) Brookings School District 6.) Canton School District
7.) Yankton School District 7.) Freeman School District
8.) Harrisburg School District 8.) Vermillion School District
9.) Douglas School District 9.) Warner School District
10.) Mitchell School District 10.) West Central School District


See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in South Dakota as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[8]

Demographic information for South Dakota's K-12 public school system
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 14,950 11.68% 1.10%
Asian 1,966 1.54% 4.68%
African American 3,390 2.65% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. students 124 0.10% 0.42%
Hispanic 4,993 3.90% 24.37%
White 100,417 78.44% 51.21%
Two or more 2,176 1.70% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

In the news

Federal waiver for No Child Left Behind requirements

In July 2014, The U.S. Department of Education granted one-year waivers from some requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act to South Dakota and five other states. The South Dakota Department of Education first applied for more flexibility under federal education requirements in 2012. The one-year waiver lasts through the 2014-2015 school year and requires the creation of improvement plans to reduce achievement gaps. State education officials need to develop annual objectives for reading and math test scores as well as graduation rates to comply with waiver requirements.[9]

State law

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The South Dakota State Board of Education adopted the standards on November 29, 2010. Full implementation is scheduled to be achieved in the 2014-2015 academic year.[10][11]

School board composition

South Dakota school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members are appointed to fill vacancies until the next election for the seat is held. South Dakota school board elections typically follow one of these two methods:[12]

  • At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
  • Trustee area at-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, but candidates must reside in specific geographic areas within the school district.

School boards can consist of five, seven or nine members. Board members serve three-year terms with elections held each year at a time determined by local election officials.[12]

District types

South Dakota contains multiple types of school districts. A public school district offers K-12 courses for students in a single city or county. Cooperative districts are typically multiple small districts combined into a single governing body to serve rural communities.[13]

Term limits

South Dakota does not impose statewide term limits on school board members. However, terms limits on school board members can still be imposed on the local level.[12]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: South Dakota school board elections, 2015

A total of two South Dakota school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold elections for five seats in 2015. The first election will be April 14, 2015, and the second will be June 2, 2015.

Here are several quick facts about South Dakota's school board elections in 2015:

The districts listed below served 36,454 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.

2015 South Dakota School Board Elections
District Date Seats up for election Total board seats Student enrollment
Sioux Falls School District 4/14/2015 2 5 22,827
Rapid City Area School District 6/2/2015 3 7 13,627

Path to the ballot

To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in South Dakota, a person must be:[12]

  • 18 years of age or older
  • A resident of the school district at the time of the election
  • An eligible voter of the district

Candidates must file nominating petitions with signatures from at least 20 voters in the district to the district's business office. The filing deadline for a school board election is at least 39 days prior to the election.[12]

Campaign finance

State law requires candidates to file itemized accounts of campaign contributions to the South Dakota Secretary of State if contributions exceed $100. A candidate has to report contributions under $100 but does not need to provide an itemized list of contributions.[14]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. United States Department of Education, "2012 EDFacts State Profile," accessed August 12, 2013
  5. South Dakota Department of Education, "Board Members," accessed June 13, 2014
  6. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed July 11, 2014
  7. South Dakota Department of Education, "ACT Test Results 2013," accessed July 11, 2014
  8. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  9. Washington Post, "Virginia, 5 other states awarded extension to ‘No Child’ waiver," July 3, 2014
  10. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed June 12, 2014
  11. South Dakota Department of Education, "Common Core State Standards," accessed June 17, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Associated School Boards of South Dakota, "So, You Want to Become a School Board Member," accessed July 9, 2014
  13. South Dakota Department of Education, "Educational Directory," accessed July 10, 2014
  14. South Dakota Secretary of State, "Campaign Finance FAQs," accessed July 9, 2014