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Community input imperative to key district decisions on facilities

During the summer of 2017, our entire board and administrative team breathed a sigh of relief

because enrollment projections were not pointing toward the need for a long-range facility

planning task force.

Then the first day of kindergarten hit, and we saw over 100 students more than we thought we were going to — 974 kindergarten students walked our halls in August 2017.

This made us reevaluate our ability to wait a year with the long-range facility planning discussions, and a community committee was assembled.

Community support is important to our board, and to the success of our district. As board

members, we value the opinion of our community, and have created many different committees

to engage our stakeholders and provide an avenue for them to provide their perspectives to us.

One of the most visible of these community initiatives has been the long-range facility planning

(LRFP) task forces that we've had in advance of the 2011, 2015, and the 2018 bond

referendums.

The members of the 2018 LRFP task force spent countless hours in meetings and on their own

reviewing past, current, and projected data, facility information, and finances. They identified

pros and cons for 11 different projects for potential inclusion in the bond, and evaluated each

project against criteria like sustainability, short- and long-term outcomes, how it might affect the

district's finances, needs versus wants, how it might impact the taxpayer, and most importantly,

what impact it would have on our kids.

It was this LRFP task force that ultimately crafted the recommendation to the School Board for

the $106.9 million referendum that our community is being asked to consider on Sept. 25.

The task force selected projects to include in their recommendation based on how well

they addressed increasing enrollment, equal opportunity measures and the safety of our

students and staff.

They also remained cognizant of what the addition of each project meant to

the bottom line of our taxpayers, and worked to keep the impact minimal.

I am grateful that we live in a community who shares in the responsibility to shape our district for

the children that are here now and will be here in the future. I cannot imagine how difficult it

would be to make these decisions in isolation, so would like to say, "Thank you," for engaging

with us in this process.

We look forward to future meetings with our community members on all

manner of important topics, as we watch West Fargo continue to be the district of choice in

North Dakota.

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