Get Answers to Your Highest Priority South Dakota Legal Questions

Swier Law Firm FAQ

 

Have questions? We have answers! Our South Dakota attorneys answer the questions they hear most often from clients just like you.

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  • May a school board prohibit a teacher from sharing his or her personal political viewpoints with students during instructional time?

     

    Yes. The Supreme Court has stated that when public employees make statements in their official capacities, they are not speaking as public citizens for First Amendment purposes, and their comments are not isolated from regulation by the employer. Since teachers making statements during instructional time are speaking in their official capacities, the First Amendment does not protect their comments. As a result, school boards may adopt policies that prohibit employees from discussing their personal political views with students during instructional time.

     

  • Is a school district required to provide transportation to a student who transfers within the district?

     

    No. If a student transfers from one school to another school within a school district at the request of the student’s parent or guardian, the school district is not required to provide transportation services to the student.  

  • What is the “enrollment options program”?

     

    In 1997, the South Dakota Legislature established the “enrollment options program,” commonly referred to as “open enrollment.” The law enables any South Dakota kindergarten through twelfth grade student to attend any public school that serves the student’s grade level in any South Dakota school district.

  • Is a school district required to accept credits from a transfer student?

     

    Yes. A school district must accept credits for any course completed in any other accredited school district under the open enrollment program. However, the nonresident district must award a diploma to a nonresident student only if the student satisfactorily meets its graduation requirements.

  • What is a school district’s responsibility in reviewing an open enrollment request?

     

    A school district must grant a request for a transfer into the district or within the district unless the transfer would result in an inability to provide a quality educational program based on criteria established by the district under S.D.C.L. § 13-28-44. 

  • May a teacher wear a political button, pin, or T-shirt in the classroom?

     

    The Supreme Court has stated that a school district may refuse to sponsor speech that might reasonably be perceived to “associate the school with any position other than neutrality on matters of political controversy.” On this basis, a school board may adopt a viewpoint-neutral dress code policy that prevents its employees from wearing political buttons, pins, or T-shirts at work during work hours. Enforcement of the policy would avoid creating an impression that the school district endorses a particular party or political view.

  • May a school board prohibit employees from engaging in political activities on their personal time?

     

    The United States Supreme Court has ruled that public school teachers, like other public employees, do not forfeit their constitutional protections when they take a government job. Among the constitutional protections provided are those established under the First Amendment, including the freedom of speech.

  • South Dakota Estate Planning - What Gifts Are Not Taxable?

    There is no limit to the amount you can give to your spouse, if you are both U.S. citizens. However, if you are a U.S. citizen but your spouse is not, you can give up to $152,000 to your spouse in 2019. Other common non-taxable gifts are:

    • Tuition costs you pay for another person have no limit, as long as you pay the institution directly.
    • Healthcare costs you pay for another person have no limit, as long as you pay the hospital or medical professional directly.
    • Charitable contributions are also limitless, as long as the charity qualifies.

    Do You Need To Speak With A Lawyer About Estate Planning?

    If you need to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer please contact us online or call our office directly at 888.864.9981. We will be happy to discuss your legal options!

  • South Dakota Estate Planning - What Is The Annual Gift Tax Exclusion?

    You can give away up to $15,000 per year, per beneficiary, with no gift tax consequences to the recipient or yourself. This strategy can be as easy as writing a check to each of your loved ones during the holidays. The assets you give away using the annual gift tax exclusion do not count toward the lifetime exemption.

    Do You Need To Speak With A Lawyer About Estate Planning?

    If you need to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer please contact us online or call our office directly at 888.864.9981. We will be happy to discuss your legal options!

  • South Dakota Estate Planning - What Is Lifetime Gift Planning?

    Lifetime gift tax planning allows you to give assets to loved ones, without paying gift taxes now or estate taxes later. Years ago, the federal government found that taxpayers were trying to avoid estate taxes, by giving away some of their property while still alive. As the donors saw their loved ones enjoying the gifts, the IRS saw the taxpayers avoiding or reducing estate taxes on these gifted assets at the death.

    As a result, the gift tax was enacted to keep people from avoiding the estate tax. The basic concept is - when you give someone an asset that exceeds a permitted amount, you (the donor) must pay the IRS for that privilege, in the form of a gift tax.

    If you are trying to use the lifetime wealth transfers to lower the total value of your estate and avoid or reduce estate taxes, here are three things you need to know:

    • The annual gift tax exclusion is $15,000 in 2019.
    • The lifetime estate and gift tax exclusion is $11.4 million in 2019.
    • Some gifts are not subject to the gift tax at all.

    Do You Need To Speak With A Lawyer About Estate Planning?

    If you need to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer please contact us online or call our office directly at 888.864.9981. We will be happy to discuss your legal options!