Wendy Reuer, Published November 09 2010
D-G-F group suggests building new schoolAfter months of trying to find the best option for an overcrowded school district, a task force for the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton School District brought its recommendations to the school board Monday night.
The task force, comprised of about 23 community members, proposed both long- and short-term solutions to address a growing student population, something Superintendent Randy Bruer has called a “good problem to have.”
With about 1,380 students enrolled this year, the district has swelled since 2000, when about 1,250 students were enrolled. It is projected to grow to more than 1,460 by 2014.
“You can see the growth coming through the system right now,” Bruer said Monday.
The task force considered a number of possible solutions, but many of the options, such as using portable classrooms, were not viable because of the high expense with little return.
For the short term, the task force suggested the district move overflow to locations such as churches and rent space if needed.
Churches in Glyndon have already expressed a willingness to allow pre-school classes to be held at their locations. The community center in Glyndon is also a possibility to use as school space, Bruer said.
For long-term goals, the task force suggested that a renewal of a $500-per-pupil levy referendum be acted on quickly, moving it up to May.
If passed, the levy could help pay for the task force’s long-term recommendation to construct a building that could serve as a junior high and possibly become a campus.
Task force member LeAnn Gifford said it was apparent consolidation of the elementary schools was not an option that was appealing to the communities of Dilworth and Glyndon, where the two elementary schools are located.
“I think the major factor here is the parents,” Gifford said.
She said parents and the task force considered the increase in transportation time and cost if only one elementary school was available.
Gifford said losing a school could have a negative effect on economic development in both Glyndon and Dilworth.
Rick Cariveau, a Dilworth City Council member, agreed it is important to keep the schools in Dilworth and Glyndon but said the school district will need to make sure it can convince the voting population without kids in school that an investment in the school system is necessary.
“It’s going to be a tough sell no matter what you do, whether you add on to the schools or you build a new building. But it has to be done,” he said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530