Entries Tagged 'SF School District' ↓

Pedestrians, Bicyclists and motorists need to work together on making Sioux Falls a safer place

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While the Liberal in me agrees that motorists need to be the most safe when traveling our streets (due mostly to the weight of their vehicles) pedestrians and bicyclists also must use common sense.

A great example of this is the real world version of Frogger that occurs every morning by Lincoln High School on Cliff Avenue. Even after the city was kind enough to put a very visible traffic light and crosswalk in (that was needed) students still have not figured out how to use it. Even if they are simply 20 feet away from the cross, they still prefer to jump across five lanes of traffic.

I don’t want to get into a long debate about how some teenagers are pretty ignorant (it’s all those racing hormones.) But I do want to say one thing ‘USE THE FREAKING CROSSWALK – THAT IS WHY IT WAS INSTALLED!’

I think the School District needs to have an ‘education’ program with the students of Lincoln High school about using crosswalks, I would also suggest a plain clothes officer hands out jaywalking tickets every morning for about a week. We might be able to help subsidize the Events Center operations cost with the revenue.

No Walking allowed to the George McGovern School

In one of the strangest decisions that I have seen the SF School District make, they seem to be sending out ‘walking’ police if kids are ‘trying’ to walk home from the McGovern school. Maybe they are afraid they will get ran over by those pesky rabbits and deer we have roaming on the outskirts of town;

The end of the school day is carefully orchestrated at George McGovern Middle School.

About 12 buses pull up alongside the school, and teachers help make sure each of the about 740 kids gets on one of them. While they do that, they also keep an eye out for students trying to walk home — which isn’t allowed at the new middle school in the northwestern corner of Sioux Falls.

Still, some slip through during the rush of pickup, and when they do, officials call their parents.

Oh My! Kids are walking and getting exercise! I thought we needed to build an indoor pool because kids don’t get enough exercise? Hope they remember to build sidewalks by the new indoor pool.

This has to be one of the dumbest things I have heard the school district do. Of course, they are a little nervous considering no one thought of building sidewalks to the new school. So who would be liable if one of these gung-ho fitness freaks decides to walk home and gets hit by a car? Well that’s a very good question McFly;

But more than the debate about walking to school is the argument about who is responsible for what when the city annexes an area such as McGovern — sometimes called a flagpole annexation. The new territory, 40 acres for the school, is connected only by a thin strip of land.

Another genius move by our planning department (they are often making genius moves, like trying to allow a 85,000 square foot super-center retailer build on a parcel of land that will have ONLY ONE access point).

Minnehaha County commissioners worry the annexation took away county money in the form of building permits. The city argues they invested millions in improving infrastructure in the area. Meanwhile, the school must wait to see about sidewalks in the area.

District and Minnehaha County officials are not responsible for putting in sidewalks — that’s the city’s job, they say. And as for the strip of Maple that falls under the city’s purview, it ends at the school. City officials say they have no immediate plans to make the road more pedestrian-friendly.

Of course, this could all be alleviated easily if the District and the City ponied up and built a simple asphalt trail (similiar to the bike trail, offset from the main road about 5-10 feet). It could easily be a walking or bike bath that would be relatively inexpensive, and our public works department has the equipment to install it. Heck, the District’s policies even require it. But who follows rules these days? That’s just silly talk.

District policy asks officials to “provide safe walking routes to school throughout the district” and “accommodate growth and change” when determining a school’s attendance boundaries.

No plans have been made for a sidewalk along Maple or that section of Marion, City Planner Jeff Schmitt said.

“We’ll build it as it gets built up out there,” Schmitt said.

Oh, but we had to make sure we plowed ahead with the flagpole annexation so we could get that building permit money and skirt rules (mostly to skirt rules), because if the city is good at one thing in the planning department, it is having a separate set of rules for each development, as Jeff ‘Malt’ Schmitt has said before, planning and zoning in Sioux Falls is ‘fluid’ (in the alcohol sense of course) and we just don’t see the need of flowing money into a poorer neighborhood to build sidewalks for the kids. Heck, people would start thinking we are making these decisions when they are drunk.

Then comes the pesky hippies and their talk about ‘exercise’ and ‘walking’;

McGovern students might benefit from their new building, but sidewalks ensure safety, promote healthy activity and give them a face-to-face interaction with the community, Orcutt said.

“They have a shoulder and then they have ditch,” Orcutt said. “With George McGovern, it’s addressed one issue, but it needs to address another one.”

Oh no, don’t start using logic with the city and school district, that will confuse the f’ck out of them. Their only logic is ‘if someone can make money from building sidewalks out there, then we will approve it.’ This isn’t about whether kids are safe or healthy, this was about city greed, plain and simple.

Studies show a correlation between students walking to school and faring well in class, said Lenore Skenazy, author of the book “Free Range Kids” and a blog by the same name.

Did the study include how much money is being made for the city when these kids walk to school?

Parsley, 39, said he wants to push for a “complete streets policy,” which would require all new buildings be made accessible to walkers and bikers.

“I would love to keep banging the gong for McGovern, but what it really boils down to is changing the policy for the entire city,” Parsley said.

Another logical fellar chimes in, as I have said, this wasn’t about a Walmart coming in, it was about a school, and there is NO opportunity for the city to make money from building sidewalks. Though I do totally agree with your idea, even if the city implemented it, they may not always follow it, it goes back to them picking and choosing what rules they want to follow, and if they have been drinking that day.

Complaints from community members caught the attention of at least one Minnehaha County official, even though the county is not responsible for sidewalks.

Commissioner Jeff Barth brought the matter up at an Aug. 26 meeting, deflecting blame from some comments he saw online.

Actually he said comments he saw on ‘South DaCola’ but gawd forbid the Argus gives me any promotion for starting a community conversation about it (actually, KDLT did the original story, or was it KSFY, I get them confused). Immediately after I watched the meeting, I called Commissioner Barth and we discussed what can be done, and that is when Barth mentioned the asphalt path. Jeff also had this to say about the city in the meeting;

 “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me,” Barth said. “We’ll just have to keep an eye on their activities better.”

Yes, after watching the city council meetings for over 10 years, I have learned you have to watch them like a hawk, they are constantly trying to slip things by, the EC siding is a great example of them trying to skirt transparency and informing the public, and they pulled it with the sidewalk issue.

Meanwhile, the district was able to pay the city $50,000 for a building permit, instead of paying the county’s rate of 1 percent of the project cost, Barth said. The 177,000-square-foot middle school cost about $20 million.

“That befuddles me,” Schmitt said. “The school district might have a concern about the value of a building permit. We don’t.”

The district might have saved on permit costs, but the city spent more preparing the rural site for the new school, Schmitt said. Workers installed water mains, street lights, sewers and storm drainage. They also repaved Maple, adding a turn lane, all for a combined cost of about $1.2 million.

And after doing all of that infrastructure improvements it didn’t occur to anyone in the Planning Department to build either a sidewalk or a walking path to the school? As even Scooby Doo would say after the first week of school started, ‘What Whoa Waggy.”

And the planning department’s mental (midget) counterparts have also chimed in with a solution (that makes no sense);

“So what the school district has done is we have made a commitment to bus 100 percent of the students to school,” Alberty said.

Which is costing them an extra $29,000 a year, which would pay for a lot of asphalt.

So what is the city, the county and the district’s solution to the current problem?

District officials are counting on similar growth near McGovern, which they say will bring sidewalks and conditions safe enough for students to bike or walk to school.

Give it time. Maybe the sidewalks will grow themselves. I think Menard’s has some sidewalk seeds on sale right now. Now that’s an education system at it’s finest finding a solution. But we must forgive them, their job is really to teach NOT TO learn (from their mistakes).

Ms. Transparent Herself

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Ok, which hospital is going to hire Dr. Homan?

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Homan announced today she is calling quits next July. Reading the FB comments, it seems many are jubilant about it.

The South DaCola office pool starts today :) I’ll put $1 on Sanford.

 

New Middle School – No Sidewalks

While the other TV stations have been hooping and hollering about the inside of the new McGovern Middle School, the folks over at KSFY have found a little problem with the exterior. No sidewalks leading to the school. (I just think it is a conspiracy to punish the School District for naming the school after a liberal);

The newly opened McGovern Middle School was built near a few busy streets in Sioux Falls.

It sits on Maple St. near Marion Rd.

The problem is, there isn’t anywhere for people to walk on those roads.

Including students.

It forces people to walk on the street which doesn’t even have much of a shoulder.

Ms. Bartness does a good job of ‘starting’ this story but comes up short at the end;

The school district tells us the city is in charge of making sidewalks in Sioux Falls.

KSFY News reached out to them earlier, but haven’t heard back.

First off Logan, there is more then one person you can call with the city about this. But what I find interesting is the School District saying the city is responsible for ‘making sidewalks’. While this is true most of the time, the adjacent property owner of new construction is assessed for the cost of those sidewalks. The city does it all the time with private businesses and homeowners, so why wasn’t the school district assessed for these sidewalks?

Once again, I see a case of a different set of rules being applied to government entities, like the school district. Reminds me of the school district parking lot next to the EC that doesn’t have ADA parking. Hmmm.

Good job Logan, now maybe you can track down Chad Huwe with the city and he can explain why the school District doesn’t have to pay for sidewalks out there.

The ‘Mysterious’ VIP parking(?) at the EC location

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This lot sits on School District property, but who is it really for?

A South DaCola foot soldier contributed to this post;

It is my understanding that this lot was constructed under the August 2012 building permit for the foundation for the events center. There doesn’t seem to be any ADA requirements that have been met. The rumor is that these parking spaces would be given out to people who bought the sky boxes at the events center. It would be prime parking. Is it okay to have non-compliance to ADA standards if there is plenty of handi-capped parking over at the events center parking lot? But this lot is built on property that belongs to the school district, and used by school district employees (during the day). When someone asked the city about the ADA issue, the response was there would be additional parking spaces installed on the north lot that is used by the school district to meet the ADA requirements.
I don’t think that has happened yet.
Questions:
How did this lot get placed on school property?
How can this lot be exempt from ADA requirements? No ramps, no signage, no van parking. Even if this parking is for the school during the day it has no ADA access to the school building?
I was not aware that ADA requirements can be assigned to another area when it is a separate parking lot of its own.
Are ID numbers going to painted on the parking spaces or is the lot going to be policed for parking when the events center is opened?
I think it will be fun to see who gets to park there when the events center opens. I noticed that the lot is lighted, but did you notice that there is a lower light at the entrance to the lot, I would guess that it will be policed for parking. So is this a School District lot? A EC VIP lot? Or Both? Time will tell.

School Date start petition may make the mark

The latest is that the group will turn in over 6,000 signatures today (they need 4,700 valid). We will see if my sources are correct.

Where to sign the School District ‘start date’ petition

People can sign at the following:

Josiahs – DT

Taylor’s Pantry – 41st and Minnesota

EmBe – Dt or 69th & Louise

Relic Revivals – Bridges at 57th

Try It Again – 41st and Western

Salon Montage -  east side – 26th St. (next to Bagel Boy)

Sola Salons – 69th and Minnesota #23

Body Works – 57th and Louise (next to Cherry Berry)

Petitions can be notarized at any bank or at Lockwood Law on 6th & Main

Notarized petitions (no matter how many signatures) need to be turned in by Thursday to Lockwood Law or 1708 S Williams Ave.

Was local media purposely dismissive of another indoor pool location before the election?

NOW, our local media tells us about another location for an indoor pool, only a few weeks after the election;

Brown also has reached out to neighboring property owners, the Sioux Falls School District and the city. She had visions of an indoor swimming pool on her land, similar to how the schools, park, community center and library are co-located nearby.

“The city has not showed any interest in that even though they’re looking for an indoor facility and the people who live around me would not be unhappy,” Brown said.

Maybe our local paper got this story after the election? Not sure. I never heard a peep about the Lacey family proposal before the election, not even a rumor, and I know several politicos who know Brown. I would have thought I would have at least heard an inkling of this proposal.

It’s no secret, my idea for an indoor pool would be either to build it where it can be expanded with a private/public partnership or in conjunction with the school district. The crazy part about the proposal was it was sitting in front of our faces all this time. I’m curious as to who Brown is talking about when she says ‘the city showed no interest’. Who with the city or either the school district told her they were not interested? I have never seen this presented to the city council or school board. So was it the planning office? Parks and recreation or the mayor’s office that said NO? It is also very curious that this proposal wasn’t mentioned until after the election. While I find Schwan’s article intriguing I am wondering how this got buried.

SOS (Save our Summer) petitioner to be on Knobe

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Wendy McDonnel, petition circulator, will be on Viewpoint University today (Good Friday) Around 5:30(?).

The Sioux Falls School Board has voted on the school calendar for the next three years. Some folks are not happy with the results and are circulating petitions on the subject. Wendy McDonnel will tell us why they don’t like the calendar and what they want to put in its place.

Viewpoint University from 4-7 today on this website and 1140 KSOO.