This New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) transaction financed the major rehabilitation and expansion of a Oglala Lakota County School District K-8 public school. Located near Rockyford, South Dakota, the school district encompasses the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The new facility will accommodate a growing population as well as provide modernized facilities and technology to improve the quality of education for some of America's neediest students in Pine Ridge, one of America's most impoverished communities. The new facility provides space for outreach programs such as sports, art, music, theater, language education and summer camps to improve the overall quality of education. In the past, dropout rates on the reservation have been as high as 70% for teens; one goal of the project is to reduce dropout rates through improved early education programs. A longerterm goal is to reduce exceedingly high unemployment rates—reported to be as high as 80% in some areas of the reservation. Approximately 30 construction jobs are needed to complete the project.
"This project is a model of how the public and private sector can work as partners to improve the education of our children and provide a near-term boost to the economy," said Senator Tim Johnson.