Sioux Falls parent files lawsuit against Sioux Falls School District

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 6:47 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Sioux Falls mother has filed a lawsuit against the Sioux Falls School District over new middle school boundaries. The new boundaries were voted on by the school board and will take effect in the fall of this year.

Megan Steever lives one mile away from Memorial Middle School, in a neighborhood west of Tea Ellis Road. But under the new middle school boundary, her sons will be going to George McGovern Middle School.

Steever says the new middle school boundaries have made a small island for her neighborhood, which is surrounded by Memorial, West Central, and Tea students.

“We are being cut off and basically craved out, and plucked out of our community, it’s basically created an island and so we’ve lost our sense of community with these students that are our neighbors,” said Steever.

She is also worried the longer distance to George McGovern Middle School will prevent her kids from doing extracurricular activities.

“I moved specifically here to attend Memorial Middle School and attend Roosevelt so my kids could walk to activities, I can’t be in two places at once,” said Steever.

Other residents in the neighborhood said this new boundary has already influenced the neighborhood.

“My next-door neighbor directly moved to a new area so he could keep his daughter in Memorial Middle School, they weren’t willing to take the risk of doing open enrollment because we were told memorial is full, so that option wasn’t even available,” said Debby Johnson, resident of the neighborhood.

Steever made an appeal to the Department of Education. A hearing examiner listened to arguments for both sides of the boundary line and ruled in the district’s favor.

“So, the next step then is to file an appeal to circuit court if you disagree with the hearing examiner and the Department of Education’s Secretary decision,” said Steever.

So that’s what she’s doing, and to make it happen she had to learn how to do legal paperwork, as she could not get a lawyer, despite many attempts.

“I did contact multiple attorneys’ offices in town and had friends reach out to attorneys’ offices, these parents several of them were calling attorney’s offices,” said Steever. “A lot of them were on retainer for the Sioux Falls school districts, so I couldn’t hire them.”

In a statement about the case given to Dakota News Now, the School District says they are committed to educating and preparing each student to succeed in a changing world and they do not comment on pending litigation.

The hearing for the case is scheduled for May 24th.

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