Parents, students rally for answers on flooded Elk River schools

Published: Mar. 24, 2019 at 8:35 PM EDT
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Nearly three years after homes and schools were destroyed by the June 2016 flood, residents are still fighting to rebuild. On Sunday, parents, students and lawmakers gathered at the Capitol for a rally for Herbert Hoover High School and Clendenin Elementary School.

They discussed the progress and frustrations as they wait for school officials to break ground.

"We're done with it. Three years is long enough," parent Lora Mullins said.

Mullins said it is an uphill battle to keep her son motivated to go to school. "To get a kid out of bed, when there's snow on the ground and it's cold, and they know that they're going to be cold all day, carrying their backpacks is a lot harder," she said.

Kids are going to school in portables, and they said the rooms are in bad shape. They do not have lockers, and some students have to travel for extra curricular activities.

Mullins said parents want to know where officials are in the rebuild process, but there is a major lack of communication. "We know it's going to take time, they haven't even broke ground yet. We're aware of that, we're not foolish, so just to keep us informed. That would be perfect," she said.

Sen. Glenn Jeffries, (D - Putnam), said it is a shame that the process has taken so long. "I think everyone realizes and understands that's involved with these two schools that it is a priority now, which it should've been a priority prior to this," he said.

Sen. Jeffries said they are waiting on the results from the environmental assessment. Those results are expected in the beginning of April. Then, there will be a 30-day public comment period. After that, the property will be purchased. School officials said the purchasing process can take six months.

Once the property is purchased, bids will go out and construction will start.

At a recent meeting, school officials estimated the purchase and rebuild process for the elementary school will be done in 2021. For the high school, they said the completion date would be in 2022.

Throughout the process, parents said they are trying to stay patient. However, they demand better communication.