Rapid City School Bond Fails On Supermajority Requirement

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Most voters in the Rapid City school district cast ballots in favor of a $190-million dollar bond issue to replace or renovate aging schools on Tuesday, but not by a wide enough margin for the measure to pass.

Under South Dakota law, bond issues must receive at least 60% plus 1 of all votes cast and the Rapid City vote came in at roughly 56% – 9,287 for and 7,211 against – on 23% turnout.

School Superintendent Dr Lori Simon said after the final unofficial tally was released that it’s disappointing the law requires a supermajority to pass the school bond.

Simon said “it’s easier to change the law, easier to build a prison” than to pass a bond issue because both require only a simple majority. She called it “very disappointing” to get a clear majority and still not get approval for a bond issue for the community’s most precious resources.

The program would have, over 6 years, built 3 new grade schools, a new middle school, and a new high school, renovated 4 grade schools, and Stevens High School, and turned the old Rapid City High building into an elementary/magnet school while closing 4 grade schools.

The bond was opposed by a group called Taxpayers for Sensible School Bonds, which said the district should have taken care of the “worst-case situations” first instead of putting everything on the table at once.

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