PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) The Pierre School Board held the third in a series of meetings to give the public a chance to hear details of its elementary facility planning study, to ask questions and offer comments. McKinley and Washington Elementary Schools are the district’s oldest buildings and will need some necessary, but expensive upgrades in the coming years. The board is considering various options including closing the two buildings and constructing a new school or adding on to the district’s newest elementary buildings-Buchanan and Jefferson. The third option would involve reconstructing a two story building on the Washington campus and closing McKinley. Since discussions on elementary building changes have been at the forefront, school officials have stressed that there will not have to be a tax increase to pay for the chosen plan.
As with previous public meetings, Business Manager Darla Mayer and Superintendent Dr. Kelly Glodt spoke about the proposals and attendees asked various questions. One woman stated that she believes the board is making the decisions during summer months when some parents are disconnected from school news. She asked that a subcommittee be set up to help the board make decisions on how to proceed, or to send out a letter to parents when school starts and give patrons another chance to give their input on the issue. Board President Randy Vance and other board members said they have talked about the issue a lot over the past several months.
Attendees at all three meetings have been surveyed as to their opinions on whether the district should move forward with an elementary school project, and if so, which of the three plans is preferred. Based on results from all three meetings, 74 people or 99 percent indicated that the district should proceed with a plan. The option of building a new school in northeast Pierre received the most support with 57 votes; 11 people said they would prefer rebuilding Washington and five people voted for the option of expanding Jefferson and Buchanan.
Superintendent Glodt said after Thursday’s meeting that he would like to see the board take action to start with a plan at this month’s regular meeting.
Glodt says the board needs to make a decision on the district’s elementary layout soon, based on a timeline to have a facility in place by the 2015-2016 school year. He believes the board has received plenty of input in recent months and has put lots of thought and effort into considering what’s best for the district.
The next regular school board meeting will be August 12. Those that would like to review the proposals can still see them on the district’s website at http://pierre.k12.sd.us. Mouse over the “District” tab at the top of the page and click on “New Elementary Study”.
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