Disappointment inspires change: RCAS bond vote
RAPID CITY, S.D. – The voters have decided. The Rapid City Area Schools bond was defeated by voters in a close race. A little over 56% voting yes and nearly 44% voting no. The bonded needed 60 percent plus one-vote approval to pass.
Over 16,000 people voted in this election. The bond would have paid for school safety, capacity control, and renovations or even new construction for certain schools.
Concerns revolved around increased taxes and wastefulness, but RCAS superintendent Dr. Lori Simon says this is the only way for South Dakota schools to pay for such a large-scale project.
“The only other funding source that we have is capital outlay and that is a pot of money that we do get every year but really it has many intended uses,” said Dr. Simon.
Many parents with children in the district committed to voting yes, with concerns about school safety, overcrowded classrooms, and overall education.
“I think it’s okay, this is how democracy works. We know that we’ve got to continue to work to grow Rapid City, to bring the kind of amenities we know recruits the professional workforce we need and we’re still going to get up every day and do that,” said Elevate Rapid City CEO, Tom Johnson.
For many the outcome was disappointing.
“I think there is a general misconception that the schools really just need a new coat of paint and maybe some flooring here and there and that they’ll be okay. That’s absolutely not the case and so obviously this issue is going to have to come back to the voters at some point,” said Mayor Steve Allender.
There are concerns about the future of the schools and the community. For many people relocating to this area, education for their children is a priority.
“Sadly, I’ve even heard comments already on our social media today. People are thinking about moving away because they’re sad that they don’t believe this community cares about education,” said Dr. Simon.
Although disappointed, this district, Elevate Rapid City, and city officials are refusing to give up. In fact, they’re already working on taking the next steps to find a solution for the issues facing Rapid City Area Schools.
“We’re not done. We’re not done with this fight. This is about our children, our most precious resource that we have in our community and we must do better by them,” said Dr. Simon.