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School Closures Part Of Monday Night's Discussion

November 26, 2012, 4:55 PM by Kelly Bartnick

School Closures Part Of Monday Night's Discussion
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

The fate of three Sioux Falls schools is up for a vote. The school board has been discussing the issue for months now that would consolidate students from three historic central Sioux Falls elementary schools into one new building.    

The school closures are part of the district's five-year improvement plan. It also includes new schools and an expanded Spanish Immersion plan. Mark Twain and Longfellow students would be combined in a new school, while Jefferson Elementary would be locked up.

District officials say the move would save them more than $800,000 annually. Both Mark Twain and Longfellow Elementary schools would close. The district would tear down Mark Twain and build a newer, modern facility at the site. Longfellow would also be closed.

The district has previously said remodeling the buildings to make them compliant with today's codes would cost millions, and it wouldn't extend the life of the facilities as long as the district would like. District officials previously said a new building on the Mark Twain site would cost approximately $10 million to build. That new building would open in the fall of 2015, according to the proposal.

Jefferson Elementary had been up for a remodel and expansion with a new gymnasium. But the new plan would close the building by the summer of 2016. That plan points to significantly low classroom square footage as a reason for the closure. Jefferson students would be absorbed by Mark Twain and Laura Wilder.

The board is scheduled to take up the vote at its regular meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday.  School Board member Kate Parker has said she will ask the council to vote on the Mark Twain and Longfellow closures separately from the other parts of the capital improvement plan.

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