BREAKING: Plan  to close Watertown’s Roosevelt Elementary fails on 2-2 tie vote  (Audio)

May 8, 2023
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–A motion to adopt a “partner school concept” in the Watertown School District that would have meant the closure of Roosevelt Elementary School failed on a 2-to-2 tie vote Monday night.

The plan, which the board has been studying and debating since January, called for kids in Pre-K thru first grade to attend McKinley and Mellette Elementary schools, and students in grades two thru four attending Lincoln and Jefferson.

But following nearly 45 minutes of comment at Monday night’s board meeting, the motion failed, with board members Jon Iverson and Jean Moulton voting in favor of the plan, and Stuart Stein and Kari Lohr voting against it.

Board President Tammy Rieber was absent.

Stein tells KWAT News he recognizes the need to close an elementary school due to declining enrollment numbers, but he’s not convinced this plan is the best one for the district…

Iverson told the board he was, “admantly opposed” to the partner school plan when it was first proposed, but the more he studied it and listened to people, the more he was convinced it would solve a problem….

Superintendent Dr. Jeff Danielsen says, “doing nothing has consequences,” and says they’ll regroup and come back with another plan in the fall…

Roosevelt Elementary opened in 1950. Moulton called it an old school where the top floor is hot, making it a poor place to learn. In her words, “Roosevelt students deserve better.”

Lohr called it a, “hard decision with no easy answer,” and said her primary concern with the plan, if approved, was, “whether there would be enough room for everyone.”