Tea School District's bond issue met with contention - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Tea School District's bond issue met with contention

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In 2015, this plot of land will be home to Tea Area Elementary in southwest Sioux Falls.


"We have 22 square miles. The phenomenon of the city of Sioux Falls annexing into other districts is not new. It's been through Brandon Valley. It's been through Harrisburg. And, now it's here," said Tea Superintendent Jennifer Lowery.

The Tea School District is asking its taxpayers to vote "yes" on September 24 to an $11 million bond issue that would pay for the new elementary school, as well as an addition to the elementary in Tea, and the start of a new performing arts center at the high school. 

The bond issue doesn't sit well with Chad Zortman who lives in the Westwood Valley subdivision, near the site of the proposed school.

"What also doesn't jive with us is the school they're looking to build is a K-4 school which means starting in grade five our children in this area will still have to be bussed to Tea. They are contending that no Tea students will be bussed to this school. So, essentially we're almost like second-class citizens out here," said Zortman.

He and 30 of his neighbors have sent two petitions trying to opt out of the Tea School District.

"It's David versus Goliath. We're the little guy going up against the big guy," said Zortman. "We've had our petition denied not once but probably twice. We're not going down without a fight."

Should the bond pass the owner of a $200,000 home in the school district would pay an additional $264 in taxes per year. 

"It basically comes down to tax dollars. They don't want to lose this area to Sioux Falls or another school district because the tax money would go to that particular school district," said Zortman.

He says 95% of the people he's talked with agree that this bond issue shouldn't pass, but voters on September 24 will have the final say.

"If we can rally our troops up here in Westwood Valley to go vote and we can," said Zortman. "I'm going to assume there are people in Tea that don't approve of a school being built inside Sioux Falls city limits that they're going to have to pay for as well that there's going to be enough people to strike this bond issue down."


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