- Last Updated: 16 August 2018 16 August 2018
The Sioux Falls School District has provided facts regarding increasing enrollment and its impact on existing schools. The School Board accepted the recommendation from a 30-member task force, which determined a $190 Million bond is needed to build three new schools and make security and accessibility upgrades at 14 existing schools in the District. Taxpayers are now being asked to vote on the bond referendum on Tuesday, September 18, 2018.
The following questions are some of the most frequently asked. If you have any questions that are not answered here, please email us, and we will respond to you.
What kinds of needs does the District have in terms of its facilities?The Sioux Falls School District's enrollment is expected to continue to increase significantly in the foreseeable future. In fact, the District has seen an increase in enrollment of 20% in the last decade and expects an increase of 10% in the next ten years.
Currently, there are 478 more students enrolled in kindergarten, first, and second grades than are enrolled in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Moreover, there are 1,144 more students currently enrolled in kindergarten, first, second, and third grades than are enrolled in ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades.
Most of the District’s existing schools are already at, or are approaching, capacity.
What process is being used by the board to find a solution to its facility needs?For the past 18 months, the School Board has been engaging community members in public meetings, at civic group discussions, with a survey, and through the mail and social media.
A 30-member task force that represents the diversity of our District community studied the enrollment information, considered growth projections provided by the City of Sioux Falls and made a recommendation to the board. The District has been and will continue to be transparent throughout the process as it is committed to ensuring that any solutions it proceeds with includes feedback from the community to be consistent with the mission and vision of the District.
Why didn't the board anticipate these needs and work to avoid its enrollment challenges?The simple answer is that it has. As we know, our area has experienced significant population growth in recent years. While our last high schools were built more than 25 years ago and the last high school before that 50 years ago, the board and District leaders have worked to make the most of our facilities during times of great enrollment growth.
However, as enrollment continues to increase, we must now look to other solutions to ensure that we can adequately meet the challenges and opportunities resulting from our enrollment growth.
Are the Sioux Falls Schools overcrowded now?No. While our schools remain safe and allow current students to access a top-notch curriculum with outstanding educators, projected future enrollment growth requires us to act now to ensure that we can continue to meet the needs of current and future students.
When does the Sioux Falls School District need to act on these needs?The simple fact is that the District must address its challenges now, as its enrollment continues to increase.
Why are voters being asked to go to the polls for a referendum?Because of the costs involved in addressing these challenges, the District would need approval from voters through a referendum. All registered voters in the Sioux Falls School District are asked to weigh in with their opinion at a special election on Tuesday, September 18, 2018.
How would a referendum affect property taxes?The $190 Million bond amount would increase the taxes on a median-priced Sioux Falls home valued at $185,000 by $2/month or $24/year. If your home is valued at more or less than $185,000, the tax increase would be change incrementally.
Didn't the Sioux Falls School District recently build a new school?Our newest high schools were built more than 25 years ago: Washington High School was built in 1992 and Roosevelt High School was constructed in 1991.
Lincoln High School was built in 1965.
The District received a land donation from Sanford Health. Will a new school be built in that location?The District has not determined the exact parcel of land on which new schools would be built. The task force recommended, and the Board agrees, that a new high school be built in the northwest quadrant of the city; a new middle school be built in the southeast quadrant of the city; and that a new elementary be built wherever the growth needs indicate in the next few years.
Is the Sioux Falls School Board considering boundary changes? When would boundary decisions be made by the board?School boundaries will be redrawn regardless of whether the bond passes on September 18. When we have the results of the election, community members will have multiple opportunities to engage in the process. If the bond passes, new boundaries would likely be established one year prior to the new buildings opening. If the bond does not pass, new boundaries will be established as needed.
- The Sioux Falls School District serves 24,000 students in 32 schools across the city.
- Each year, enrollment climbs by 200 to 500 students, thanks to the cities vibrant economy and unmatched quality of life.
- Since 1990, the District has grown by 8,825 students – or 58% in one generation.
- Recognizing these steady enrollment increases, the District has spent the past 18 months gathering information, talking with stakeholders – including parents, students, teachers, community leaders and young professionals.
- A task-force of 30 diverse taxpayers convened to study the data and make a recommendation to the School Board. The School Board accepted their recommendation of a plan worth $190 Million, which includes building a new high school, new middle school, new elementary and making $40 million worth of safety, security, and accessibility upgrades to 14 additional schools across the city.
- While $190 Million is a large number, the math breaks down like this.
- The median-priced home in Sioux Falls is $185,000. If the proposal is accepted by voters in a special election on September 18, taxes on a home of that value will see their taxes go up $2 each month or $24 a year. If you own a home worth $500,000, your taxes would go up $5.40 each month.
- A bond calculator, along with all of this information can be found on the District’s website. We encourage every voter to learn more prior to election day and then VOTE on September 18. Voting is a right and a privilege.
- If you are not available to vote on election day, absentee voting begins August 20th.