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Deal too good to pass up

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news Fargo, 58102
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

Some deals are just too good to pass up.

The West Fargo School Board jumped on a lease-to-own agreement for the Tintes building, which would be virtually interest free, Business Manager Mark Lemer said.

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"The fact it has... no interest is really appealing," board member Ben Koppelman said.

The district currently leases the Tintes building - located at 1007 2nd Avenue West in West Fargo - from Westgo Square Inc., and the agreement would give the district the "possibility of getting value back" in the future, Lemer said.

"Everything in this lease treats us like we're paying for it up front," he said.

The deal will cost West Fargo Public Schools $3,650 a month for two-year increments upwards of eight years total. Upon reaching the eighth year, the district will have the chance to purchase the property for a lump sum of $100,000. Including rent, the property will cost a minimum of $450,000, Lemer said.

The deal also calls for the district to bear the burden of utility costs, as well as any repairs and maintenance. Even so, Lemer said the school district already has budgeting in place for funding of the lease-to-own agreement.

"It's roughly what we'd be paying now," he said.

The board members voted unanimously to approve the action.

High school to get terrazzo flooring

Plans for replacing the tile flooring on the main-floor hallways of West Fargo High School moved forward Monday.

The school board unanimously approved the administration to advertise for bids for terrazzo flooring, which would cover the main entryways and the commons area.

Maroon and beige colors were picked to match the décor already in place, and a concentric-circle pattern will be used.

Lemer said bids would be available by the next board meeting in January, upon which members would need to agree on one in order for the company to have enough time to finish the project before the new school year.

Bids will be offered for both demolition of the current tile, as well as placement of the new terrazzo.

A time line for construction puts the project in the way of summer school, but Assistant Superintendent Louise Dardis said plans were in the works to make sure any negative effects would be minimal.

"It's a good expenditure, I think," board member Angela Korsmo said. She said she volunteers in a local elementary school that is nearly 100 years old, and its terrazzo floors have "held up beautifully."

New buses nearly ready to roll out

The school board also approved that the district move forward with the purchase of four new buses, which would begin service next school year.

During the last board meeting, Transportation Director Brad Redmond requested he advertise for bids for three new 59-passanger school buses and one wheel-chair equipped bus.'

Lemer said the district received three bids for the buses, but he had some concern for how they came in.

One of the bids received actually was faxed to a local business, and then sent to the district, Lemer said. Because of shipping problems, the other two were delivered by hand and, therefore, company representatives were on hand when all three were opened. Upon discovering the faxed one was the lowest, the said representatives expressed protest that it should be thrown out because of the discrepancy of how it was received, Lemer said.

Legal contacts informed Lemer that the district would not be held accountable if it chose to go with the lower bid.

"The laws regarding bids are basically there to protect us more than bidders," he said, and the winning vendor "really had no competitive advantage."

Board members unanimously approved the $221,250 low bid for three, 2011 Bluebird Vision 59-passenger buses, which came in $20,000 less than the other bids. The losing bids were for 2012-model buses, however.

While Hartley's School Buses received the winning bid for the 59-passenger buses, Trucks of Bismarck Inc., had the low bid for the wheel-chair accessible bus at $92,527.

Members discuss increasing athletic fees

Upon discovering that student participation in West Fargo athletics hadn't gone up last year, board member Patti Stedman wondered if the district shouldn't consider upping its fees.

"Maybe we're too low compared to other (schools)?" she said. "It might be worth looking into."

Athletic Director Curt Jones said the last time the district increased athletic fees was in the 1990s. He believed Fargo South and Fargo North High Schools charged approximately $50 for athletics, and that, on average, "other schools are at least $20 higher than West Fargo."

According to a co-curricular activity report produced by Jones on Monday, the district showed 65% participation among students in grades 7-12. This number is deceiving, however, because it does not differentiate from students who participate in more than one sport, Jones said.

"We're not getting more kids because we're low (cost). If our number was 40 or 50 percent participation (from all students), that might mean something," Stedman said.

Jones said individual participation would be looked into, and no action was made regarding a fee increase.

WFPS has clean slate

The West Fargo School District budget was given a passing grade by David Micks, district manager for the state auditor.

"It's a clean report, nothing to discuss, really," he said.

The board commended administration for a job well done.

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