RCAS: “See for yourself”
District offers school tours ahead of bond vote
Early voting for the Rapid City Area School’s proposed $190 million bond issue is underway.
To help voters make an informed decision, the district is offering to take the community on a tour of their aging facilities.
Most of Rapid City’s schools were built during a post-World War II boom between 1949 and 1963.
Superintendent Dr. Lori Simon says the local business community tells her a well-maintained school system is a big factor in bringing new businesses into the local economy.
“One of the first things that I have heard,” said Simon,” is when teams and their spouses are coming in to consider rapid city for their business or their home, that oftentimes they’ll drive by the facilities and our schools and, just on the condition alone, they question whether or not our community does value education.”
Kumar Veluswamy is the district’s facilities manager, charged with keeping the schools open and operating. He says that task will be more challenging if the bond issue is not passed.
“There comes to a point where any other catastrophic measures happen… like Robbinsdale — if the building moves even more or our structural engineers say, ‘Nope. We cannot have school anymore,’ where do we take those kids to?” he asked rhetorically. “We’ve got to spend some money and make some things happen. If we have to put up an annex, that costs money. So we will be in a very tough situation to make the proper projects and maintain these school buildings.”
According to RCAS spokesperson Katy Urban, it’s been 46 years since Rapid City last approved a school bond issue, which paid to build Rapid City Central High School.