RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Rapid City Area Schools’ bid to raise millions of dollars to replace or renovate aging facilities failed to gain voter approval Tuesday.
The bond issue only received 56 percent of the vote; while it needed 60 percent plus one vote in order to pass.
The final tally was 9,287 voting for the bond and 7,211 voting against it. Only 23 percent (16,507) of the 71,345 registered voters in the school district voted.
Dr. Lori Simon the superintendent for RCAS says that it is disappointing that South Dakota requires the supermajority to pass the school bond
"It is easier to change the law, it is easier to build a prison. Both of those require a simple majority. It is very disappointing we had such a clear majority in our corner and yet that is not enough to pass a school bond for our communities most precious resource." Said, Dr. Simon
The district wanted to create a $189,553,000 bond that would have, over six years, been used to repair or replace aging and deteriorating buildings, improve school safety and handle future growth.
Here is the final plan that would have been instituted if the bond issue passed.
It included building three new elementary schools and a middle school; renovating four elementary schools and turning Rapid City High School into an elementary/magnet school; and renovating Stevens High and building a new high school.
In the long term, RCAS is looking at closing four elementary schools as well: Canyon Lake, Robbinsdale, Wilson and Horace Mann.
The bond was opposed by a group called Taxpayers for Sensible School Bonds. In previous interviews with KEVN and KOTA TV, the group said RCAS should have taken care of the “worst-case situations” and deal with them rather than put everything on the table at once.
We will have follow-up stories on this issue Wednesday.