HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO) — Voters in the Harrisburg School District will have a chance to pass or turn down a bond issue on Tuesday; it would fund a new elementary school and other improvements if it passes. It’s a $30 million bond issue for a school district which superintendent Tim Graf says has seen a tremendous jump in student population.
“When you go back to the growth of the district, for example, 20 years ago we were 784 kids, and this year we’re pushing up against that 6,000 mark, which is really phenomenal,” Graf said.
“Harrisburg itself has grown, southern Sioux Falls has grown, which overall just leads to the district booming,” Harrisburg School Board chair Mike Knudson said.
Graf explains that everyone in the district who owns property pays a mill levy, and that because of Harrisburg’s growth, the current mill levy will pay for the new elementary school and other improvements without increasing.
“We have not had a increase in mill levy for a number of years,” Graf said. “This bond issue is no exception because of the increase in valuation that we’ve seen throughout the district. We are able to maintain a level mill levy during these bond votes.”
Voters passed a $60 million bond back in 2021. Graf says the new elementary school would open in 2024 if voters pass the bond issue. If not, it’s time to brainstorm.
“We would have to figure out what is the next step, we have to do something, because Liberty Elementary is expected to be full and if the voters do not approve, then we’ll have to go back to the drawing board,” Graf said.
Graf says the 2021 bond issue received 83% of the vote. Polls open for registered voters at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and then close at 7 p.m.