The Swier Law Firm Education Law FAQs

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.

  • Page 6
  • What is the composition of a school board?

    A school board includes five, seven, or nine members whose terms must be from one to three years initially, and three years thereafter.  However, each school board member is entitled to complete the term of office to which he was elected.

  • What is “just cause” for nonrenewal of a "continuing contract law" teacher?

    "Just cause" for nonrenewal includes breach of contract, poor performance, incompetency, gross immorality, unprofessional conduct, insubordination, neglect of duty, or the violation of any policy or regulation of the school district.

  • By what date does a “continuing contract law” teacher have to be given notice of a nonrenewal recommendation?

    A "continuing contract law" teacher must be given written notice of a nonrenewal recommendation on or before April 15.

  • May a public school employee run for public office?

    Yes. A public school employee cannot lose his job or job status by becoming a candidate for any public office if it does not entail a neglect of duty. 

  • In South Dakota, may a teacher and a school district agree on a multi-year contract?

    Yes. However, no teacher's contract can exceed three years.

  • May a school board impose a lesser penalty for a drug-related violation?

    No. A school board may not impose a lesser consequence than those established in SDCL 13-32-9.  However, a school board may adopt a policy with more strict consequences to meet the needs of the school district.

  • Under what circumstances may the one-year penalty for a first violation be reduced?

    The one-year suspension may be reduced to thirty (30) calendar days if the student participates in an assessment with a certified or licensed addiction counselor. However, if the assessment indicates the need for a higher level of care, the student is required to complete the prescribed program before becoming eligible to participate in extracurricular activities.

  • What impact does a first drug-related violation have on a student’s eligibility for extracurricular activities?

    Any student adjudicated, convicted, placed in an informal adjustment or court-approved diversion program, or granted a suspended imposition of sentence or suspended adjudication of delinquency for possession, use, or distribution of controlled drugs or substances or marijuana as defined by SDCL 22-42, or for ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise taking into the body any substances as prohibited by SDCL 22-42-15, is ineligible to participate in any extracurricular activity at any secondary school accredited by the Department of Education for one calendar year from the date of adjudication, conviction, diversion, or suspended imposition of sentence.

  • How does a school board properly give public notice of its official meetings?

    A school board must provide public notice with a proposed agenda that is visible, readable, and accessible for at least an entire, continuous twenty-four hours immediately before any official meeting.  

    A copy of the notice must be posted, visible to the public, at the school district’s principal office.  The proposed agenda must include the date, time, and location of the meeting.   

  • Is educational malpractice recognized as a valid legal claim in South Dakota?

    The South Dakota Supreme Court has not considered whether a claim for educational malpractice is valid in South Dakota. However, the South Dakota Federal District Court recently predicted that the South Dakota Supreme Court would not recognize educational malpractice as a proper claim.

    Specifically, the Federal District Court rejected a claim for educational malpractice because (1) the lack of a satisfactory standard of care by which to evaluate an educator; (2) the inherent uncertainties about causation and the nature of damages in light of such intervening factors as a student’s attitude, motivation, temperament, past experience, and home environment; (3) the potential for a flood of litigation against schools; and (4) the possibility that such claims will embroil the courts into overseeing the day-to-day operations of schools.