Happy Wednesday! Megan here.
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Status check: We survived winter! I don't know about you, but I feel like my mental health has skyrocketed with these warmer temps. What a vibe.
Weather check: Warm and windy (don't start any fires)
This week, it's a lot of school news. I've got a breakdown of the Sioux Falls School District budget. Then, check out an awesome opportunity for the Lincoln High School band. Plus, catch a ton of Super Simplified stories.
And now, news:
What's in Sioux Falls schools' $326 million budget?
Simplified: The Sioux Falls School District is looking to spend $326 million in its general fund budget for the next fiscal year. Here's a simplified look at what's included (and what's not).
Why it matters
- Before you see "budget" and skip over the rest of the story, it's important to remember that all of the money we're talking about here is tax dollars. So, if you're paying property taxes, this is your money at work.
- Most programs next year will be "status quo," Business Manager Todd Vik said. That means they're maintaining the same level of service without significant cuts or expansions.
- One of the largest cuts in this budget is to the athletics program, which includes cutting the entire girls gymnastics program.
- Another big budget change on the horizon is the end of federal pandemic relief funds next year. The district is expected to have more than $8 million in ongoing expenses from programs added or expanded during the pandemic.
"How we do that without a cliff, and how we bring that back down to what feels like normal spending again is tricky business," Superintendent Jane Stavem told the school board last week.
Get into some of the specifics here.
Super Simplified Stories
- Last day of school set in Sioux Falls. The Sioux Falls school board on Tuesday approved changes to the school calendar to make up the five snow days called this winter. Students add two days to the calendar – moving the last day to Friday, May 26. And teachers/staff will now have their last day on Friday, June 2.
- No more snow days? The Sioux Falls School District calendar committee also voted to recommend that the district consider remote learning instead of calling snow days in the coming years. That came as part of discussion of the 2024-25 school calendar – which was approved – but there's been no further action taken on that recommendation at this point.
- Parklets get more permanent rules. City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to pass an ordinance to include "parklets" as an option for businesses in the downtown. Here's more background there.
- Mayor to give State of the City. Mayor Paul TenHaken will give the annual "State of the City" address on Monday at the Convention Center. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. if you want to go in-person. Just want a summary? Check next Wednesday's issue for the "simplified" version.
*Deeeep breath* More Super Simplified Stories
- One stop shop for state services. Sioux Fallsians will have all local state department offices housed under one roof. The Sioux Falls One Stop will be located north of 26th Street at Dawley Farms. SiouxFalls.Business has the specifics.
- Three people vying for one Sioux Falls school board seat. Cynthia Mickelson is not seeking re-election to the Sioux Falls school board this year, which means the five-member board will soon have a new face. Three candidates – Brian Mattson, Nicholas Lee Zachariasen and Dawn Marie Johnson – are all running to fill that vacancy.
- More parking coming to the airport. The Sioux Falls Regional Airport is breaking ground Wednesday on a new four-level parking garage that'll add 975 parking stalls.
- Arctic fox at Great Plains Zoo dies. Rehn, the Arctic fox, died last week after worsening kidney disease. She arrived at the zoo in 2016 to join her brother, Archie, who died in 2022. Animal Care Director Joel Locke called Rehn a "spitfire," and said she loved hard-boiled eggs. "We all will miss her bark," he added.
Lincoln High band to perform in Macy's Thanksgiving parade
Simplified: The Lincoln High School Marching Band will perform in the 2024 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. It's the fourth time LHS has marched in the parade.
Why it matters
- It's the opportunity of a lifetime for performers in the Lincoln Patriot Marching Band, Director Daniel Carlson said. Carlson himself marched in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in the 1980s, and he said he's excited to return.
- Lincoln's marching band is well-known in the Sioux Falls area, and the program has grown to involve more than 200 students. The band has won numerous awards over the years, and broken records in the region for its performance at competitions.
- The marching band was selected as one of more than 100 applicants nationwide. Only six were high school bands, and Lincoln High was the only band selected from a school that's been represented in the parade before, according to Wesley Whatley, creative producer for the Macy's parade.
"There's a history here of excellence," Whatley told band members during a surprise announcement Tuesday night. "There is something very, very special happening here."
What happens next? And what'll it cost to get there?
THIS AND THAT
What I'm falling for this week:
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