Sioux Falls School District considers schedule changes for elementary students

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The Sioux Falls School District has been looking at changing the schedule for elementary school students for several years. In the past year, several sample schedules have been looked at. One of the them has a group of parents upset.

The possibility of a schedule change is being brought into light now because of a Facebook group called 'It All Matters.' One mom started it Tuesday night after she heard about one of the sample schedules. It has art, music, PE, and library on a 4-day rotation with 45 minute periods. That would cut 25% of time students currently have weekly for PE, music and art.

"I can promise everybody in the community that we have no goal to undermine the arts. It is absolutely the furthest thing from our thought process," Dr. Brian Maher said, who is the superintendent for the Sioux Falls School District.

The fine arts aren't receiving any budget cuts. Dr. Maher said there isn't just one schedule being looked at either.

"One of the things we heard from our elementary teaching staff is our schedules are chaotic and crazy. Can you do something about that?" he said.

Three groups of teachers are giving feedback on potential schedules. Parents are not happy about the schedule with fine arts on a 4-day rotation. There are more than 1,200 members in the Facebook group since it started Tuesday, showing the power of social media.

"With Facebook, the more people that indicate interest in a certain subject, it's like a ripple effect. The more people that see it, the more eyes it will be shared within the future," Natalie Eisenberg said, who is the CEO of Click Rain in Sioux Falls.

She said marketers use social media for this exact reason.

"It can also be really powerful for social movements. It's really easy for that word to travel so fast and so powerfully given the technology that Facebook is built on," she said.

Maher said he has heard the concerns and is listening.

"Number one, we will remain committed to the arts. Number two, we need to let this process continue to roll out. Number three, we hear you," he said. "It shows you that there is a commitment in our community to the arts and that's part of the draw to Sioux Falls."

Dr. Maher said information on what's gathered will be given to school board members in two weeks.

You can look at the slideshow in this article to read exactly what was given to some staff members as a sample schedule.