Parents react to Tea Area Schools decision to build a new elemen - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Parents react to Tea Area Schools decision to build a new elementary school

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The excitement over the new elementary school planned for Tea is as about divided as the district itself.

The school board's decision Tuesday night has people talking in Tea.

KSFY News spoke with a few parents and teachers to get their reaction.

Some are excited and called it a step in the right direction for their growing district.

One parent said he believes the district's decision to use capital outlay funds is gambling with their kids' future.

For Tea Area Schools, the future is now.  The district plans to spend capital outlay funds to get a new school built on a site near Lancaster Drive and S. Ellis Road.

Parent and Tea Area Schools teacher Holly Peterson said "we have to start somewhere, and this is the right decision. It's the right time to do this. And absolutely, I think we need to move forward. I'm glad. I trust the board and Mrs. Lowery wholeheartedly."

A new elementary school will make it possible to tear down the outdoor classrooms known as "stick buildings."

Parent and Tea Area Schools educator Shad Hawkey said "I'd love to get rid of the stick buildings. I've walked out there for class and I've had kids that have been out there for a whole year for class. I see what an inconvenience it is, and so to eliminate those and to possibly add a performing arts center would just do wonders for our community and our district."

A district that continues to grow.

Tea Area Schools superintendent Jennifer Lowery said "Tea Area School District is building a school in the city limits of Sioux Falls because the city limits of Sioux Falls has grown into the Tea Area School District and they will continue to grow into into the Tea Area School District."

But some parents believe relying on future growth to pay for a new school with capital outlay funds is a gamble.

Parent Lynn DeYoung said "if the growth doesn't happen, if something unforeseen happens, a large expense... maybe a roof that needs to be repaired, a building or anything else, then where do we cut from do we cut from technology, textbooks, other things that students need everyday to succeed in the classroom."

"There's hard decisions to be made but we have to service the kids. We are under wonderful leadership and guidance and not everyone's going to be happy but it has to be done. We're a growing district, and we need to build schools," Peterson said.

"We're betting on the future, and the end result is the students will suffer," DeYoung said.

There were a few people who didn't want to go on camera. Most of them were against the idea of a new school. Some told KSFY News they felt it meant their vote doesn't count or that the money should've been spent elsewhere.

Tea administrators said the district has made its options for using capital outlay funds public at board meetings since December.
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