LHS open enrollment was more closed than open this year


Sioux Falls School District

The final Sioux Falls School District high school boundaries decided on by the Boundary Task Force.

Emma Forster, Staff Writer

Most students at LHS did not spare a thought at the opening of Jefferson High School in the 2021-22 school year. That is, until it forced many current students to leave LHS. 

Almost everyone can name someone they know whose open enrollment got denied for the 2021-22 school year. Whether it is a tale of being on just the wrong side of the dividing street or miles outside the new boundaries, students feel the same pain. Open enrollment was much different this year than any in the past, with the new variable being JHS. To fill the population of the new high school, the rejection of open enrollment applications was much more dramatic. 

“We were unable to accept any current freshmen and sophomores for open enrollment,” said LHS principal Dr. Laura Raeder. 

In addition to filling the capacity of JHS, the refusal of open enrollment students at LHS is also an effort to decrease the overall populace of the school. 

“It is to decrease our population and by doing that, you increase Jefferson’s,” said Dr. Raeder. “They would like all of the [high school] buildings to have a similar population size.”

With JROTC, Latin, AP Art and the most available AP courses, LHS is a magnet school in numerous ways, making this transition a rough one for many high school students. But the school’s administration was prepared for this change and there is a solution. 

“If you go to Roosevelt but you want to continue to take Latin, you can do that, you just have to drive here to do that. Same with ROTC,” said Dr. Raeder. “There are some programs that, since they are only offered here, you have to drive here to take it.”

Not only will this drastic change affect students in their academics but their personal life as well, impelling them to leave behind friends, teachers and coaches. 

“It is really sad. The issue is, we are really good at building relationships [at LHS],” said Dr. Raeder. “Those are the things that do not show up on that neat map. This is that real human.”

While the emotion behind the issue is much less than simple, there is truly nothing that can be done in this unfortunate situation. Administration and staff want nothing more than to fix the problem for everyone, but that is not the reality. 

“You want to have empathy, but on the other hand, that is where the line is. It is very helpless,” said Dr. Raeder. “We are used to fighting for kids, but this is something that it does not really matter how hard you work, it is what it is.”

Although there are many downsides to this change in open enrollment, the truth is that the Sioux Falls School District is changing. And as the community evolves, new traditions and opportunities will arise.