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Tea Area Students Using Art To Inform Voters

April 21, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Students in Tea are working together and putting their creative abilities to the test, not just for fun.

"We really feel like this campaign and this issue from the very beginning has been about the kids, so on the third go-around for this vote, we want the campaign to center around what the kids have to say," Jolene Loetscher said.

An expansion project for the Tea Area School District is up for a vote once again on May 13th after being rejected once last September and again in December, that time by only 14 votes. It needed 60% approval and got 59%.

"If you want to ask anyone in here who is three feet or under, they're going to say the third time's a charm, should've been the first time, but we'll keep going," Loetscher said.

After the first two votes, students were left asking one big question.

"Why? Why did it not pass?" third grader Nathan Babb said.

It's the same question parents like Kayla Binde and her daughter were asking as well.

"Ugh, so frustrating, especially since it was so close. I just think a lot of people weren't totally educated on what was going on and maybe just didn't realize that our votes really do count," Binde said.

The Tea students are sending their works of art to voters in hopes that they approve an elementary school expansion and a new performing arts center.

"A bigger school so more kids can come. Our classrooms aren't as big, so if we don't have big enough classrooms, we won't be able to have as many kids in one class," Babb said.

Babb went through the stick buildings as a 2nd grader and hopes to never have to use them again.

There is concern that having this issue on a ballot for a third time may turn some voters away, but this organization feels that by students leading the charge, they'll get people to vote yes on May 13th.

"The more we talk about it, the kids are going to hear about it and they're going to get excited, they're going to remind their parents to get out there and vote and talk to neighbors and that kind of thing," Binde said.

The estimated price for the project is around $9.9 million. The two previous bond votes included a new northside elementary school. This vote won't include that school.

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