Area schools to vote on bond issues

Minot isn’t the only school district scheduled to hold a bond issue in coming weeks.

Kenmare voters will go to the polls on Nov. 19 to decide whether to approve a $14 million bond issue for a new elementary school addition and secondary gymnasium.

Superintendent Duane Mueller said, if approved, grades K-12 would all be under one roof for the first time. Currently, elementary students attend school in a building located about six blocks away from the high school.

Mueller said taxes would go up $267.85 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home in Kenmare, $250.17 per year for the owner of $100,000 worth of agricultural land and $241.06 for the owner of $100,000 worth of commercial/ag land.

If the bond issue passes, the old elementary school, built in the 1950s, will be demolished, said Mueller.

Meanwhile, Westhope will hold a $4.3 million bond issue election on Dec. 3, said Westhope superintendent John Gruenberg.

If approved, the bond issue would finance school renovation, such as updating mechanical systems, improving energy efficiency, making bathrooms and other areas compliant with American Disability Act requirements, and relocating the main office from the second floor to the main floor to improve security. The project would also involve construction of one extra classroom, extending the lunchroom to add more kitchen space and combining the high school and elementary libraries with the Westhope city library, which is currently located elsewhere.

Gruenberg said there are still discussions about tweaking the project so that costs might be lowered. The city might also contribute in some fashion to the library project.

Other locations in the school would be repurposed so the school can use space more efficiently. For instance, a music room would be created and a new vocational agricultural classroom next to the shop would be added. Special education and Title I areas would be relocated from their current locations below the gymnasium. A fitness center would be relocated the gymnasium and weights moved out of the school district’s bus barn. Gruenberg said Westhope Public School has received a $185,000 grant from the Arthur and Edith Pearson Foundation to build another classroom.

Like other communities in the region, Westhope has seen a growth in its student enrollment, largely due to families moving into the area who work in the energy industry. This year there are 140 students enrolled in grades K-12, more than there have been for several years.

Community forums are being held to give the public a chance to learn more and to tour the school. The next forum is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 19, with another set for 7 p.m. Dec. 3, both at the school.

If approved, taxes on a $100,000 house would go up $195.96 per year and taxes on $100,000 worth of commercial or agricultural property would go up $217.80 per year.

South Prairie voters will also go to the polls on Dec. 3 to decide whether to approve a $12 million bond issue to build a new high school. School superintendent Wayne Stanley said last month that residents would likely not pay more in taxes if the bond issue passes, since they would get back what they currently pay in high school tuition to send students outside the district. Stanley said expenses will add up to about the same amount.

Meanwhile, voters in the Minot school district will go to the polls on Dec. 10 to decide whether to approve a $125 million bond issue for new school construction.

If approved, the $125 million school bond issue would raise money for a number of identified projects, including a new 550 student elementary school on 10 acres of land already owned by the district at the corner of 37th Avenue and 13th Street Southeast, the purchase of land in north Minot and construction of a second 9-12 high school, converting Central Campus into a fourth middle school for the school district, renovating Magic City Campus so it could accommodate grades 9-12, additions as needed at other elementaries and safety and security measures, such as relocating school offices closer to front entrances and adding more video cameras at schools.

If approved, the bond issue issue in Minot would raise the school district mill levy by 51 mills. The owner of a $200,000 home in Minot could expect to pay an additional $456 per year. Voters are also being asked to increase the school district’s debt by an additional 5 percent beyond the current 5 percent debt limit set by the state constitution.

Nedrose is planning an $18 million bond issue election early next year which would also pay for construction of a new middle school and high school on land the district has purchased about a mile away from the current school. If passed, the $18 million bond issue at Nedrose would result in a tax increase of $100 per year per $100,000 of property. The owner of a $200,000 home in the district would pay $200 more per year.

School bond issues require a 60 percent majority or greater to pass.