Versatile views at first planning meeting for school facilities project

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RAPID CITY, SD (KEVN) - The Rapid City Area Facilities Taskforce's first planning meeting Tuesday evening consisted of a presentation of student voices and its members as well as a preliminary layout for the $250-million project.

Several parents and community leaders posed questions about the recommendations including the funding of the project, population increase, and its benefits.

Although many agreed at some level that there is a need for better school facilities, there are a lot of questions still to be answered about the project.

"I don't know why they're asking the community for a tax increase when that's how it's always done. Housing property taxes are paid, that's to fund local schools, so I'm not sure how that fits in here tonight for their request for more taxes from everybody," said Elden Rice, a parent, and the president of Citizens for Academic Transparency.

"We really need this as a community to keep attracting quality families and workers to our community. We need this investment in our schools to keep this community moving forward and I think it's a very wise investment even though it will require all of us to potentially help pay for it," said Val Simpson, a parent, and an RCAS District Facilities Taskforce member.

"There are some schools that are crowded but they can solve some of this by trying to redistrict things and even things out a little bit but overall the data that I have shows that the enrollment has been flat for 20 years," Rice continued.

Overflowing with questions for the sessions Q&A, the task force will be reading all of the questions and using them to assess their next move.

The second session is scheduled for April 11 at West Middle School.