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Sioux Falls School Board Votes to Close Elementary Schools

Mark Twain Elementary School
Sioux Falls School District

During a Monday night Sioux Falls School Board meeting, the members approved on a vote of 4-1 to close three schools: Longfellow, Mark Twain and Jefferson.

Kate Parker was the lone board member to vote against the closure.

The district plans to tear down Mark Twain and replace it with a larger school in the same spot by 2015. The district says the new building will save the district $800,000 a year.

“It means that in a district that prides itself on educational opportunities and choices, we’re eliminating opportunity and choice, we’re eliminating a significant choice: the small school,” resident Dana Anderson told KELO-TV.

Resident Jon Duwitz echoed Anderson’s feelings when he spoke with KSFY-TV.

“My daughter is in a great class. My two daughters left there and went into the gifted program so the education there. I heard a comment that it was sub par or not as good which is why some students are not going there, but it’s just not true,” Duwitz said.

The school board devoted time for those for and against the plan before Monday’s decision.

According to KDLT-TV, residents can still block the plan.

The public could still challenge the school board’s decision with a petition and 15 percent of the voters in that district would need to sign the petition in order to put the issue to a public vote.

The school district will begin planning the new school for the Mark Twain location immediately. Jefferson is scheduled to close in 2016. There are no plans for how that location will be used in the future.

Longfellow Elementary School

Longefellow Elementary School
Sioux Falls School District

Jefferson Elementary School

Jefferson Elementary School
Sioux Falls School District

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