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Letter to the Editor: Research helps clarify myths regarding school bond issue

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

There seems to be a lot of information floating around these days on the upcoming West Fargo school referendum. After attending the public information meeting on April 27, I decided to do my own research on a few of the myths surrounding the proposal.

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Myth: The school board paid the demographer, RSP and Associates, to produce overinflated enrollment numbers. Fact: Google "RSP and Associates" and you will find an accuracy rating of 98% in predicting enrollments in schools nationwide. They predicted enrollment in Lincoln County, Mo. with 99.8% accuracy. They were chosen because of their accuracy rating and other school district recommendations.

Myth: The future second elementary included in the proposal provides a blank check for building another school. Fact: Each elementary school has a capacity of 550 students. If the enrollment numbers stay on track, the second elementary would be needed for the 2014-15 school year. The ballot would ask for the authority for the second elementary school, but the bonds would not be sold, nor would taxes be levied to repay that amount, until construction actually occurs. The estimated cost that would be deferred is $11 million.

Myth: West Fargo is building extravagant schools with little regard to price. Fact: I comparison shopped online, and found that the price per square foot of recently constructed buildings is significantly less than those constructed around the nation as well as nearby (Cheney in WF cost $76.25/sq ft, Horizon in Moorhead cost $106.37/sq ft). This is on the school district's website, but can be substantiated by newspaper reports around the time of construction.

I hope you will consider voting "yes" on May 24. More information can also be found at wfvoice.org and west-fargo.k12.nd.us/district/news/1011/bond/.

Becky Dockter

West Fargo

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