- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The Tri-Valley School Board is waiting to schedule training for certain school employees to carry guns until it’s known whether the board’s decision will be referred to a public vote, Superintendent Mike Lodmel said Thursday.

State legislators passed the school sentinel law in March 2013, a few months after the deadly Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut. Tri-Valley’s board last week became the first South Dakota district to approve such a policy.

Lodmel said official notice was being published Thursday in a local weekly newspaper, which means petitions challenging the vote can be circulated for the next month. The referral would need 163 signatures - 5 percent of the district’s voters - to be put on the next regular election ballot in April 2017.

Lodmel said officials won’t make any decisions on which employees will be trained until the deadline to challenge the decision has passed.

“We haven’t moved forward, nor would we, until May with making any of those types of decisions,” he told the Associated Press.

Attorney General Marty Jackley announced last week that the first School Sentinel Training Program in the state has been scheduled for July 25-Aug. 5 at the Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pierre.

State law requires that sentinels be trained. Jackley said the cost of the training is $800 per person, and school districts are responsible to cover the cost.

The Tri-Valley School District is the only one in the state so far to approve a school sentinel policy.

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