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May 16, 2018 07:16 AM

Sioux Falls School District Task Force Takes Next Steps Tonight

Sioux Falls

The Sioux Falls School District Task Force decided in its last meeting that the city needs a new high school. 

But how will that affect you as a taxpayer? 

The location of Sioux Falls' newest high school is still open for conversation. But a new high school, comes with a steep price tag. 

It's not the question of if the district needs the school, it's how will taxpayers come up with the cash.

"The school district needs to build a new high school and a new middle school no later than 2022, possibly 2021 if we can get it done. And a new elementary by 2024," said Co-Chair of the Sioux Falls School District Task Force Vernon Brown.

But how will taxpayers come up with $84.7 million for a new high school?

Thirty community volunteers are meeting tonight to find out how to foot that bill fueled by growing enrollment.

"We as a community have to decide, 'What are we willing to pay to educate our future generation in Sioux Falls'? Is that number $10 more a month in our property taxes, is it $15 dollars more a month, may it be $20 or more a month in property taxes?," said Brown.

"Our interests are what everyone's interests are. We want good education, we want the right classroom size and we want a fair dollar amount for the taxpayer," said Task Force Member Theron McChesney.

26 years ago, Washington cost $18 million to build, but today's delightful dilemma comes with a much steeper price tag.

"I saw some of that process play out as a child when I was in high school and it was just a nice kind of book-end of an opportunity of this is something I can give back to the community and participate in and help shape the school district for the future," said McChesney. 

"I want voters to understand they will have a say in this, they will have a say in whether we get a new high school, a new middle school, a new elementary school, and some other various building projects in Sioux Falls," said Brown. 

The Sioux Falls School District will hammer out its budget in July and this issue will likely go for a public vote in September.

In order to pass, it will need a 60% margin, not just majority vote to go through with the building plans. 

Tonight's task force meeting begins at 5:30 at the Instructional Planning Center. The entire community is invited to attend. 

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