Rapid City residents and school officials attended the first of a series of public forums Rapid City Area Schools (RCAS) are hosting to hear feedback regarding a proposed facilities plan for the district, reports the Rapid City Journal. Superintendent Lori Simon spoke to attendees about the proposal, which includes the construction of five new schools over the next three to six years.
The plan was crafted by a special task force made up of school administrators, board members, and district residents. The task force hopes to gather community feedback in order to make adjustments before submitting the final version of the proposal to the school board in June.
The proposal would be financed with a $250 million bond issue that would raise residents’ property taxes and would require a 60 percent pass of a referendum vote. The community has not been asked to support a bond issue since 1991, when over 60 percent of voters rejected a $20.7 million measure that would have financed the building of a third high school. The bond is estimated to come out to an increase of $2.37 for every $1,000 of a home’s assessed value.
Currently, the facilities proposal includes plans for three new elementary schools to replace Robbinsdale, Horace Mann, and Canyon Lake for $30 million each, and the rebuilding of South and West middle schools for $45 million each. $70 million would also be set aside for renovation at Pinedale, Meadowbrook, Knollwood, and Black Hawk elementary schools and Stevens and Rapid City high schools, including a new fine arts wing at Stevens.
Rapid City’s population continues to grow and overcrowding in elementary school make for an increased safety risk, according to Facilities Manager Kumar Veluswamy. The task force believes that the plan calls for new buildings in areas that are expected to see increased commercial and residential growth in coming years. Superintendent Simon also added that additional phases could be added to the plan in the future.
Learn more about the facilities plan on the RCAS Facilities Task Force website.