Sioux Falls School District Boundary Task Force Meeting II: 1-29-20

There was some interesting things discussed in the meeting. You get the feeling that some ‘segregation’ is still being pushed by SFSD administrators with some push back from task force members. I don’t have children, so maybe I am missing something and could be way off kilter in my assessment, but similar to the bond task force, it seems the administrators have a predetermined result and are trying to mold the task force into that direction.

I had to laugh at the first meeting when Super Maher said decisions are not being made behind closed doors. If you have to state that disclaimer in public, it makes you a bit suspicious. I’m surprised he didn’t say that he makes ‘perfect’ phone calls . . .

Watch it yourself and you be the judge.


#1 D@ily Spin on 01.31.20 at 5:23 am

Building walls has become popular since Trump was elected. School dividing lines went from organizational to class distinction. It’s gonna be hard to get Nexico to pay for these walls.

#2 "Very Stable Genius" on 02.02.20 at 3:30 am

Okay, so please watch the tapes of both of the Boundary Task Force Meetings so far. You’ll notice that it is really not a Task Force, rather it is a focus group. You’ll also notice that the co-chairs are merely honorary. This “Taskforce” is instead run by a full-time District employee and a paid consultant. It’s kind of like what my high school history teacher at the old Washington High School once said about the Holy Roman Empire. He said: “It was not Roman, it was not Holy, and it was not an Empire.”

The Task Force was told from the start that they were not a rubber stamp, yet, immediately the TF was given three versions of middle school boundaries that were drafted by the district.

There was never an encouragement to offer alternatives, but some members did, but the alternatives, if you noticed, never received the professional presentation, in terms of mapping, that the three district proposals did. In fact, they were presented with a smile by the moderator.

At the first TF meeting, it was suggested that three might turn into four meetings, but since the second meeting ended 10 to 15 minutes early, I question if there will ever be a fourth meeting even though ethnicity has never been appropriately dealt with in terms of the middle school boundaries, yet, it looks like we are now moving on to the high school boundaries.

One of the most interesting things about the TF is that a participant asked at the first meeting as to why there was no info on ethnicity. This question was a part of a two part question, but it was never answered by the moderator. But then it was brought up again as the only question, then there was an answer, but the answer was that they would have to first talk to legal before they could release that info. But then soon after, the Superintendent interjected and said that info would be made available. Although, it became apparent later that info was already on the district’s website…. Gee, I wonder if legal knows that.

It was also asked at the first meeting that the TF not only get the raw numbers, but also the geography of ethnicity, but that has never been given to the TF. In fact, if you look at the three district proposals for the middle schools, Whittier maintains a roughly 30% white population, while Memorial never leaves the 70 percentile in terms of a white student population. So, for some reason Memorial is being protected, and it looks as though Reifel is being too, since all of the proposals leave that school in the 60 percentile in terms of the white student population.

They also are protecting Lincoln by under populating its numbers, because the District claims it is the most popular for students who transfer in, so they are accommodating that reality. Well, that’s nice, but when are we going to accommodate racial diversity?

The district is also concerned about keeping the honors and immersion programs centrally located, which I guess is a pretty good argument, but why isn’t that concern being used when it comes to super precincts, when the northern part of the district has to travel south to find a open voting poll place for school elections?

I also think it is wrong to try to replace ethnic diversity with economic diversity. Perhaps, for the district, that is a more politically correct way, or politically marketable way, to address ethnicity, but it is not genuine nor completely accurate. In fact, it’s racist and not politically correct if they are using economic numbers to replace race numbers, because you make an obnoxious assumption by just using economic stats.

It will be interesting to see what happens at the third meeting, then the public meetings, and then the Board’s public deliberations this summer. I hope eventually, racial diversity is appropriately dealt with. We will have to see.

One of the things to keep in mind is that currently 61% of the students are bused in our district, but with the new Reifel school creating a new walking district within its boundaries, that will mean on face value, that less students will need to be bused starting in 2021, but that could also mean that busing monies will then be freed up, that can then be used to bus students for the sake of a greater racial diversity… We should seize this opportunity!

In conclusion, is the District seeking segregation? Does it have an inherent racial bias? I hope not, but the first TF meeting was held on MLK Day, which use to be a district holiday before the “SOS” movement, but since the school calendar now finds itself in August again, I wonder when the district will rediscover MLK Day again, too, and prove that they are truly for the desegregation of all of our schools?