After overwhelming approval from voters, the Sioux Falls School District is moving forward with plans funded by a $190 million dollar bond. Those plans include building new facilities and improving existing ones.
With construction of three new schools a guarantee after passage of the bond, Superintendent Brian Maher says the district is interviewing possible architects this week. He says that quick turnaround is driven by the goal of completing the new high school by 2021. The exact location of that school isn’t confirmed, but Maher says it’s likely to be in the northwest quadrant of the city.
In the meantime, Maher says some short-term solutions for overcrowded schools will likely come into play in the next year. One possibility is making use of some open space in other parts of the district.
“We’ve got some other buildings. CTE Academy, we’ve got some room out there," he says. "So we might look at transporting some kids out there for part of the day to relieve particularly Roosevelt High School.”
Superintendent Maher says some schools may also adopt 0 and 8th hours to stagger some students and staff earlier or later in the school day, but nothing is confirmed just yet.
Aside from constructing a new elementary, middle and high school, the bond will fund security improvements for two existing campuses.
“Those will begin right away although you won’t see them visually right away. But they’ll be done before the beginning of next school year," explains Maher. "Those are things we would have done whether the bond issue passed or failed, but this might accelerate at least one of those issues.”
Money will also go towards resolving some equity issues in facilities like Cleveland Elementary.
At last count, 85% of voters supported the $190 million dollar bond. Superintendent Maher believes it’s the largest margin of victory in this sort of election for the largest bond in state history.