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WF School Board: Vote for $40 million bond referendum moves forward

The West Fargo School Board voted unanimously Monday to move forward with the March 23 special election for the district's proposed $40 million bond referendum.

"The need is great," said Karen Nitzkorski, board Vice President. "And now is the time for the public to know how great."

According to the approved initial resolution, the referendum would provide funds to "construct and equip a new high school and a new elementary school, including gymnasiums, to make site improvements to school property and to construct, remodel, improve and equip co-curricular and athletic facilities."

If voted in, the proposed elementary school could open by the fall of 2011 and a high school next to Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center could open the following fall.

Two key voting aspects were approved Monday: the style of the ballot and the means of voting.

First, the board took Business Manager Joe Sykora's advice and went with a computerized polling system, or "E-Poll." According to Sykora, voters will be allowed to visit any E-Polling site, even those not necessarily within their precinct. The school district also wouldn't have to worry about supplying the computers or routers, as the responsibility would fall on the county.

Next, the board chose to go with a one-question poll instead of a two-question poll. This way, if the referendum is passed, monies generated can flow between the aforementioned projects.

For the referendum to pass, a supermajority of 60 percent must be garnered. Last June's failed $65 million referendum failed to get the required votes. If the current referendum fails, the same general question could not be voted on again for 12 months, Sykora said.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on voting day and voters will be able to visit any of the following sites: Harwood Community Center, Westside Elementary School, Veterans Memorial Arena, Horace Senior Center and Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center.

District to add counselors

Because of the enactment of House Bill 1400 by the 2009 Legislature, school districts must comply with a new standard: having one full-time counselor for every 300 students in grades seven through 12.

Therefore, according to calculations, the West Fargo School District must hire 4.25 counselors for the 2010-11 school year.

"We want to get an early start," said Robin Hill, Human Resources Director. "We've been taking applications already because we aren't the only ones who are going to need counselors."

Of the counselors needed by the district, West Fargo High School needs two, Cheney Middle School needs 1.5 and Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center needs .75.

Hill also noted that career advisors count toward the counselor credit. The district currently has one staff member in the process of completing her career advisor training.

Funding for the hires will come from the district's general fund, Hill said.