Happy Wednesday! Megan here.

First things first: This issue is sponsored by Jenny Downey Real Estate.

  • Jenny Downey Real Estate, HEGG Realtors®️, provides a streamlined experience to both buyers and sellers of residential real estate in Sioux Falls and surrounding communities. Jenny has a proven, successful track record of securing excellent results for her clients. Get started with her here.

Weather check: Stormy and windy

Something I missed: Did you catch the story on new schools in Tri-Valley last week? I should have included a link to the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance website, but I forgot. So here you go! Now you can see more of the great work they're doing (besides partnering with the coolest local news in town 😉)

This week, I checked in with a growing number of home-schooling families in Sioux Falls and some changes that could make "parklets" a more common fixture downtown. I've also got the first story in our month-long sustainability series to help celebrate Earth Month.

And now, news:


Why more Sioux Falls families are home-schooling

Simplified: The number of home-schooled students in Sioux Falls and statewide saw significant increases this school year after a 2021 South Dakota law made it easier for families to opt for alternatives to public schools.

Why it matters

  • Home schooling in Sioux Falls went up 20 percent this year – and statewide the increase was 23 percent. The increase is outpacing population growth and growth within area school districts.
  • While some of that may be due to the change in state law, home schooling was becoming more popular long before that. The number of home-schooled kids in Sioux Falls nearly tripled in the last decade. Statewide, the number of home-schooled kids increased two and a half times in that same time frame.
  • Parents have a wide variety of reasons for choosing home schooling, but several told Sioux Falls Simplified they're seeing an increasing number of local home-schooling resources as well as a growing community of home-schoolers.
"I think there are people who are always going to think it's weird because it's different from the way they were raised," said Pattie Kutch, a Sioux Falls parent who home-schools her two sons. "But I think, from a personal standpoint ... seeing the success of home-schoolers has changed a lot of that perspective."

Tell me more about the numbers

And what do parents have to say? More here.


This new partnership will bring more native grasses, flowers to Sioux Falls

Our Earth Month sustainability series is made possible by the support of Friends of the Big Sioux River. They're celebrating Earth Day with a new release of Big Sioux Brew and river clean-up events throughout the watershed. Learn more about their mission here.

Simplified: A new partnership between the city and the Minnehaha Conservation District will bring more native grasses and flowers to Sioux Falls lawns. Here's what you need to know.

Why it matters

  • Native grasses and flowers have deeper root systems, which means they're better for the soil. That helps prevent erosion, soak up water and better treat water that runs through.
  • The Prairie and Pollinator Garden program will make it easy for residents to incorporate native plants into their existing landscaping. Kits available for purchase include seed packets as well as an instruction booklet.
  • It's still a pilot program this year, but the hope is to learn from the early adopters this summer and continue for years to come.  
"This is just another pathway for urban residents to play a role in supporting natural resources," Sustainability Coordinator Holly Meier said.

Tell me more

How can I get a kit?


Super Simplified Stories

  • School budget discussion happening today. The Sioux Falls school board will meet this afternoon to discuss next year's budget. One item that's caused a stir locally is the potential for cutting funding to girls gymnastics. Get background on that here. (And don't worry – we'll simplify the rest of the budget, too).
  • Assessed property values went up. If you're a homeowner in Sioux Falls, your assessed property value probably went up this year. Minnehaha County saw an average increase of 14.8%, according to data presented to county commissioners on Tuesday. And many areas saw increases significantly above that average. Property assessments are used to determine what you pay in taxes, so if values go up, tax payments will follow suit. Find a neighborhood-by-neighborhood breakdown here.
  • Eggs for baskets. Dakota Layers made a deal to donate one dozen eggs to Feeding South Dakota for every free throw the South Dakota State University basketball teams made in Frost Arena this season. That added up to 385, and Dakota Layers added another 155 dozen on top of that for a total of 6,480 eggs going to feed folks in need.
  • Seeing teal around town. It's Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Sioux Falls police are displaying teal ribbons on their vehicles as a way to help raise awareness.  


Why we might start seeing more 'parklets' downtown

Simplified: City Councilors are considering an ordinance that would lay out rules for "parklets" downtown.

Construction of the parklet outside The Breaks in 2021.

Why it matters

  • The parklet concept has been tested for the last couple of years at The Breaks Coffee Roasting Co. on East 12th Street.
  • It's essentially a way to repurpose a couple of parking spots to make room for summertime activities for shops in the downtown business district.
  • City Councilors on Tuesday passed the first reading of an ordinance to define parklets and make them an official option for downtown businesses to use them for "temporary approved activities by limited lease."
"It worked really well with The Breaks, and we want to bring this to other businesses in downtown," said Joe Batcheller, president of Downtown Sioux Falls, Inc. "(Parklets will) allow businesses to expand operations in ways they currently cannot."

Tell me more

What's a parklet? And what happens next?


What I'm falling for this week:

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Reach out

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Thank you

Thank you to Sioux Falls Simplified sponsors, including the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Barre3 Sioux Falls, Midco, the Great Plains Zoo, the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, Selah Space and Silverstar Car Wash. When you support them, you're also supporting Sioux Falls Simplified.

Special thanks to Jenny Downey Real Estate!

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