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USD study shows Sioux Falls enrollment to boom, get diverse

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news Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — A University of South Dakota study has concluded that the student body in Sioux Falls' public schools will not only grow over the next 10 years but also become much more diverse.

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School officials say they are prepared to handle both issues.

The study concluded that the number of students in public schools in the state's largest city will grow by more than 5,000, or 20 percent, by 2023. The proportion of white students is projected to drop from 69 percent last year to 58 percent, the Argus Leader newspaper reported.

The number of black students is expected to rise from 10 percent of the student body to 14 percent. By 2023, about 6.5 percent of Sioux Falls students will be American Indian and 5 percent will be Asian.

"When we look at diversity, we celebrate it. No one child learns the same way," Superintendent Pam Homan said.

School Board President Kent Alberty said the district is devoted to addressing cultural differences.

"We need to be sure that we have teachers in place that understand very well how to teach what is culturally acceptable here compared to where those students came to us from," Alberty said. "So, it's going to require us to be very diligent and deliberate in hiring practices to make sure we have the best teachers in place."

Alberty said the district also is addressing the need for more space. A new middle school is being built this summer, and there is enough land to eventually put an elementary school beside it, he said.

"And sometime down the road, maybe in the next 10 years, there will be a board that needs to decide whether or not we need to add another traditional high school to handle those 5,000 extra students," Alberty said.

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