Bottineau school bond vote imminent

BOTTINEAU Voters in the Bottineau school district will be asked to vote on an $18.9 million school bond issue for new school construction on Nov. 5.

Voters will also be asked to raise the school district’s debt limit by 5 percent, beyond the 5 percent debt limit set by the constitution. The bond issue would be for 20 years.

Superintendent Jason Kersten said, if approved, the bond issue would raise the school district mill levy by 51.32 mills. The tax increase on a $100,000 home would be $230.94 per year; the increase on $100,000 worth of commercial property or agricultural land would be $256.60 per year.

The bond issue would pay for construction of a new elementary school in east Bottineau and renovation of science labs at the high school and junior high, said Kersten.

Kersten said no plans have yet been made about what would happen to the current elementary school building, which was built in 1948 and houses a special needs preschool through second grade. If the bond issue is approved, the new elementary would house preschool through grade five. Grades three through five, currently located at the high school building, would be moved over to the new elementary.

Kersten said a new school is needed because it would provide a better learning environment for the children. The old school has smaller classrooms than is currently recommended for those age levels and there aren’t enough electrical outlets to accommodate modern technology. The science labs are also in need of an upgrade. Kersten said the district has also seen more growth in the elementary grades.

Additional reasons include that there would be more room for expansion of the elementary school if needed and the elementary principal would no longer need to travel between two buildings. The new elementary would be a single-story building with its own kitchen and multipurpose room.

Kersten said he has received mixed feedback on the proposal. Feedback was positive during the three forums that were held on the district’s proposal, but he has also heard from a few patrons who aren’t sure how they plan to vote yet.

Absentee ballots are available through the school, beginning Friday, and must be postmarked no later than Nov. 4. No electronic submissions will be accepted.

The tax increase would take effect during the next tax year if the bond issue passes.