SF Parents To Challenge School Board
by Ashley Kringen, Reporter
December 03, 2012 10:26 PM
A group of parents have decided to challenge the Sioux Falls school board's decision to merge three of the oldest elementary schools in town.
This challenge followed an official vote the board made the last week of November to move forward with the consolidation of Longfellow, Jefferson and Mark Twain Elementary.
For some parents, the board's decision to close down Longfellow and Jefferson and build a new Mark Twain came too quick and now that an official vote has been cast, the group of parents is searching for ways to reverse the board's decision.
"Good people make bad decisions sometimes," said Andersen.
David Andersen, a concerned parent, is taking a stand against the Sioux Falls School board.
"It is a public institution and it needs to be responsive to the people who ultimately pay for it and use it," said Andersen.
The board voted four-to-one, to move forward with the consolidation of three elementary schools, Jefferson, Longfellow and Mark Twain.
Andersen, along with other supporters, will fight to keep the three schools as is, despite the board's official vote.
Two courses of action are being talked about now, including starting a petition drive to get the issue to a public vote or to elect people to run for two open school board seats come Spring.
"I hope they're interested in taking what we have to say more seriously. I suspect we're going to have a lot more public support than was apparent the first time around," said Andersen.
"We've heard all the arguments," said Morrison.
School Board President Doug Morrison, said he respects public input, but said the decision has been made.
"We would rather see them respect the board's vote and help us to figure out these things they're concerned about and be at the table with us," said Morrison.
Morrison said the merging schools would save the district $800,000.00 per year.
Andersen said alternatives should be looked into while keeping the three schools operational, and will strive to be the voice for other concerned parents who agree with him.
"I just think we need to consider other options, I think we rushed this and we have other possibilities," said Andersen.
This past weekend, 25 people came together with Andersen and talked about their next steps to protect the schools.
They have asked the secretary of state for advice in regards to moving forward with a petition drive and are waiting for a response.
The group has set up a facebook page called “Save Our Sioux Falls Schools.” http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Our-Sioux-Falls-Schools/422520311144325?fref=ts
15 percent of the voters in that district would need to sign the petition in order to put the issue to a public vote.