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West Fargo voters will decide future of schools

West Fargo residents are urged to get out and vote on June 9th. Your "yes" or "no" vote on the $65 mil bond referendum may be the most important contribution you will ever have the opportunity to make in shaping the future of our schools and our community. Whether the bond passes, or fails, the results of the election will have monumental impact in our community. If the bond passes, West Fargo will build a second high school, a second middle school, a new elementary school, and have the opportunity to expand Horace elementary school, and renovate the existing high school, all within the next five years.

If it fails, West Fargo's already crowded schools will face bigger classroom sizes and more overcrowded facilities as enrollment continues to grow.

On the surface, the decision seems cut and dry. Enrollment is growing and we need more classroom space. Going by that alone, a yes vote seems to be the most logical solution.

However, $65 mil is a lot of money, and before we give the go-ahead for a project of this magnitude, we need to be sure we know the facts and try to look objectively at all of the avenues available. Is this the right plan?

If you haven't had a chance to attend the open forum meetings being held by the school district, we recommend that you make every effort to go to one of the meetings and learn as much as you can about the proposed building projects on the drawing board. I have attended several of the meetings, and have heard a lot of thought-provoking questions posed by residents.

One of the most often asked questions is, "How much will it cost each taxpayer?" Thanks to a Senate bill passed by the 2009 Legislative session this spring, North Dakota taxpayers will get a welcomed tax break for the next four years. The West Fargo School District's Web site has a link that lets you calculate what your tax reduction will amount to, as well as how much of the tax break you will, in turn, be giving back to help fund building projects if the bond issue passes. Go to to calculate how it will affect you.

There are also several documents available on the school's Web site helping to explain the district's five year building plan. Check them out, ask questions, and be informed when you vote.

There are two more open forums scheduled from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2, at the West Fargo High School, and Thursday, June 4, at Cheney Middle School.

The rapid growth in West Fargo has been exciting to watch, as new housing developments continue to take shape. However, the continued growth has made planning very difficult for our schools. Help give our school leaders direction by voting on June 9.