Safety and security are a top priority for the school bond dollars. Did you know....there are 19 annex buildings at 9 different schools where students have to walk back and forth to the main building throughout the day? This does not lend itself to a safe and secure environment.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990, well after many of our schools were built, which means many don't have the proper space and equipment such as modern chair lifts or elevators to accommodate students with disabilities. This isn't fair. It displaces many students from their home school. Let's create equity among our schools so kids can go to schools in their neighborhoods.
Having proper capacity in our schools is critical to an engaging learning environment. Did you know, special education classrooms require the same amount of space as general education classrooms but with fewer students in order to accommodate their needs and learning styles? We need new schools that are built with space flexibility in mind.
Did you know that current city planning data show that there are over 5,000 homes and housing units that will be built in the next three years? Many of those will be occupied with families who have school-age children. We need additional school capacity to help meet this increase in new students.
What's the difference in classroom size between a school built in the 1950s and 1960s compared to more modern classrooms? Nearly 400 square feet! Today's learning environments are different, and we need the proper space where teachers can incorporate technology and set up collaborative learning spaces. Adequate space + proper technology = successful students!
Why can't Rapid City just increase the sales tax to cover the cost of new school buildings? The law dictates that the only funding method for large-scale facility improvements is through a General Obligation Bond. The District’s Capital Outlay fund does not generate enough revenue annually to do numerous facility projects.
Did you know...NOW is the time to pass this bond because bond rates are the lowest they've been in over a decade. It's an election year - these rates could change considerably depending on those results. Not to mention global uncertainties which can also impact rates. Let's act now!
Rapid City is changing. The Ellsworth Air Force Base expansion and the efforts to bring new businesses to the area mean we need a solid infrastructure to meet the needs these changes will bring. Schools are part of that infrastructure! This growth also means more tax dollars will be generated to help meet the additional needs in our schools.
Technology has changed the way we all work, including teachers! Today’s classrooms need flexible learning spaces with computers and smart boards and the infrastructure to support these needs.
Not every building in the district has an adequate security entrance. As a matter of fact, only three of our 23 schools do. This is unfair to our students, teachers, and staff who deserve a safe and secure environment to learn and work.
Capacity means more than students in seats. Functional capacity ensures that classrooms are right-sized to accommodate technology, hands-on learning opportunities, working in teams, and the flexibility to adjust space based on needs. In the last decade, 20 classrooms have been converted for special education classes, reducing functional capacity since special education classrooms have a much smaller student to teacher ratio.
The space available in the high school building at 601 Columbus Street has the capacity to hold more students than it currently has, which is why it is being considered as a location to move Wilson Elementary. The RCHS alternative program will continue in a new location and school administrators are reviewing sites now. Wilson students would not move until RCHS students are relocated.
Our elementary and middle schools are over capacity. Storage closets are now teaching spaces and what used to be in storage closets is now in the hallways, making it a challenge to pass through.
It has been 46 years since Rapid City passed a school bond. A lot of things have changed since then, including the size of our community and the way students are taught. Everything evolves. Our facilities need to as well.
The decision to ask for the bond was not made by the school district alone, but after a professional facility evaluation and a citizen task force, along with lots of community and business input.
The functional capacity at 11 of the 15 elementary schools is at 100 percent or overcapacity right now. Even if enrollment doesn’t increase, these schools are busting at the seams!
21st-century classrooms need proper wiring, equipment, and space to handle technology like internet access, smart boards, and computers. Chalkboards and overhead projectors are a thing of the past.
Schools are among the factors families consider in a decision to move to Rapid City. Even if you don’t have kids or grandkids in the public schools, we all need access to quality health care and can be negatively impacted when medical professionals don’t want to move to Rapid City.