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Tea Area School Planning September Bond Vote

June 9, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

TEA, SD -

It's back to the drawing board in Tea for projects that have already been drawn. The Tea Area School Board is taking a closer look at how to present a fourth bond to area voters. In the previous vote in May, the elementary school additions and the performing arts center were rejected by two votes.

"It sounded to me from the board members that they're all on board with we need to separate, at minimum, the two projects into individual items. Vote for the addition to the elementary and vote for the performing arts," Tea Area School Board president John Herr said.

Superintendent Jennifer Lowery says the next kindergarten class will have 136 new students, increases she says that are consistent with the district's rate of growth.

"We've been projecting those increases in numbers and that's why we've been asking for the additional classrooms," Lowery said.

The next bond vote is likely to come on September 16th.  If passed, that'd allow enough time to have projects completed by the next school year. Board members will be looking for more public comments about what the bond vote should look like at a booth during the city's Tea Pot Days next week.

"We usually hear from the people that support it, we don't usually hear from the people that didn't support it. So we don't know exactly why they voted no. My guess is that some people voted no because they thought the performing arts center was a 'want' versus a 'need,'" Herr said.

However, the extra comments still may not be enough to get a better grasp on what voters want to see.

"How many surveys do we get completed? How many people are voting or is it a 40/60 split again? So, it'll be very interesting to see how to accurately interpret the surveys," Lowery said.

The board approved a resolution to move forward with a new elementary school in western Sioux Falls, using capital outlay dollars, meaning there will be no cost to taxpayers. The wording of the next bond will likely be decided in July.

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