(SD)-State, Oglala Lakota Schools Announce Plans For High School
PINE RIDGE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Oglala Lakota County school officials have announced a partnership to build the first local public high school and first CTE - career technical education - high school on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It's scheduled to open next August with about about 400 students.
The school district serves 22 communities and operates from virtual locations that can serve 50 to 250 students at a time, but all the high schools currently on the reservation are private or run by the federal Bureau of Indian Education.
Governor Noem says building a CTE high school in Oglala Lakota County "will bolster the area's workforce and empower students with real-life skills and career opportunities." The county has one of the highest unemployment rates in South Dakota and Noem says creating a trained workforce "will have a profound impact on the economic growth of Oglala Lakota County and South Dakota."
School superintendent Anthony Fairbanks says the project has been in the works for a long time, so the district is grateful for Noem's support - adding that he personally is also "very grateful for all the help and support from our school board members, staff, students, and community members.
Fairbanks says everyone is the district is" working together as a team, one family, doing whatever it takes to support our students," and that "building a physical high school will undoubtedly boost education in our district and create a launchpad for our students' career development."
South Dakota Education Secretary Ben Jones calls the school "a win for everyone (as) students will have the opportunity to be active and engaged in their education, and the community will reap the greater benefits provided by such an education."
The new Pine Ridge Reservation CTE high school will be funded in part through the State Aid Intercept Program, designed to reduce interest costs for school districts through credit enhancement. Between refinancing and a new tax credit, it will cut the cost of the school about $6 million dollars.
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