Johnston, who took Sandy Jerstad’s seat in 2010 and chaired the Senate Education committee this year, generally has been a friend of the public schools. He shows up to school district events when invited, clearly has an interest in education initiatives and has supported legislation sending more money to schools.
But that’s not to say the school district and school board have agreed with his every move.
Johnston was one of the six Republicans who brought major amendments on HB1234, the controversial teacher tenure and bonus pay bill, which the school board opposed.
The last of Johnston’s amendments postponed the tenure change from 2012 to 2016. Still, Johnston ultimately voted for the bill, which Alberty railed against.
Here’s a look at how the two match up on some other 2012 bills:
Johnston sponsored and the school district supported:
HB1226, which would have permanently increased the index factor in the per-student formula
SB124: The state ended up getting a bigger windfall than expected from the 8.6 percent funding cut in FY12; the bill would have given that extra money to schools.
Johnston sponsored and the district opposed:
SB139 provided Teach for America a state match to help them expand to more Indian reservation schools (The board wanted any education money to go to all schools through the formula)
SB186: Public schools are required to loan textbooks to home-schooled and private school students. The bill expanded the definition to include other instruction materials that are not books.
Johnston prime-sponsored and the district took no position:
SB98, would have created math and science academies for high school seniors at the University Centers in Sioux Falls and Rapid City (The board said they already offer six AP courses in math and science, as well as related CTE Academy courses)