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Helmut Schmidt, Published March 18 2011

West Fargo School Board plans May 24 vote for $82.5 million bond issue

WEST FARGO - An $82.5 million bond issue will be brought to West Fargo School District voters on May 24, the School Board decided this morning.

The board voted 7-0 to ask the public to approve building two 550-student elementary schools, one new 1200-student middle school, and to expand Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center and turn it into a 1500-student high school.

The district has seen considerable enrollment growth in the past few years and demographic figures indicate that will continue.

The district has about 7,200 students now, but will have more than 9,040 students by the time school doors open in 2015, Superintendent David Flowers said.

Business Manager Mark Lemer said the plan would increase property taxes between $117 to $126 per year on a $100,000 home.

Two previous bond issues have been rejected by voters. A bond must have 60 percent approval of those voting to pass.

If this bond were to be approved, one elementary would be built immediately, to open in the fall of 2012. A second elementary would be built when the district’s enrollment hit a trigger point, district officials said.

The board also decided that it would be best to transition to two separate high schools.

The alternative would be to stay with one high school with grades 9-10 and 10-12 split between the two buildings.

That plan would also eventually require a transition to two separate high schools later, board members said.

For more on this story, read Saturday's edition of The Forum.