Douglas School District may receive federal dollars soon

BOX ELDER, S.D. —  The Douglas School District in Box Elder may soon be in line to receive some federal money after the Senate Armed Services Committee moved forward with the National Defense Authorization Act last week.

The House version of the $847 billion bill has passed and South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds hopes to see a Senate version by October. Included in the bill is $15 million in Federal Impact Aid for the Douglas School District.

The money would help the schools prepare for an influx of students — primarily at the elementary level — as Ellsworth Air Force Base grows for its B-21 mission.

Douglas School District Communications Coordinator Katy Urban says, “What we’ve been told is that the majority of the students that we are going to get as a result of the B-21 mission will be elementary. And so we are at or above capacity at our elementary schools as of right now. So we know that we’re going to need to build another building.”

If passed, the bill would go into effect in the fiscal year of 2023. Sen. Rounds plans on continuing to work with the district as the community prepares for the B-21 mission.

Sen. Rounds says, “To be able to coordinate the expectation of additional families coming in, and giving the school systems and the communities time to prepare the infrastructure and the school buildings and so forth, is really important.”

Sen. Rounds also says he’d like to see meetings between the Air Force and the Box Elder community every four to six months leading to the arrival of the bomber, and that it is both on time and on budget to roll out later this year.

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