- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

TEA, S.D. (AP) - The Tea Area School Board has approved a plan to build a $5.2 million elementary school in nearby west Sioux Falls.

The decision Tuesday night goes against the will of voters who have defeated three school bond measures in less than a year.

“As a community, we don’t get a say?” resident LeRoy Robinson said.

The school board plans to borrow money against incoming tax revenue - a technique that means it will not have to bring the latest proposal to voters, according to the Argus Leader newspaper (https://argusne.ws/1tmIn9q ).

“We need to get the architects and engineers in gear and move forward now,” board member Wayne Larsen said.

The decision comes as some area residents have sued for the right to change school districts from Tea to Sioux Falls.

Resident Deb Svanda supported the board, saying it needs to secure the district’s tax base.

“Absolutely, this is about money,” she said. “This school district is a business. That’s why we’re building out there, so we can secure our district.”

Robinson said any money should first go to improving school facilities in Tea. He also questioned how the district could afford to staff a new building.

“You have to look at the big picture,” he said.

Superintendent Jennifer Lowery said construction is to begin by August, with the school to open by September 2015.

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