WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 22, 2010, 09:02 AM

Voters to decide whether or not to build a second high school

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Tomorrow could be a milestone day in West Fargo. People will vote, again, on whether the district will build a second high school.

Of the state's five largest school districts, West Fargo is the only one with one high school. Enrollment is expected to jump from 1469 to over 16-hundred by 2012, and this is the last chance to pass a referendum to get a new high school built by then.

Valerie Fiske: “It is very daunting, very scary. We're at a very critical time right now.”

Referendum supporters already have the majority, 51 percent voted yes for a 65 million dollar referendum in June, but new schools need 60 percent to pass.

Heather Sand: “We will continue to be a community and have pride in high school.”

The price tag is now 25 million dollars lower and still allows for a new elementary school, but that's not enough to get parents like Dave Olson on board.

Dave Olson: “There are some of us who would be willing to spend more, 50 million, if it was the right plan.”

Olson agrees there is a space crunch, but doesn't think a second high school is the answer.

It would use up 30 million dollars, the majority of referendum funding and that's not enough. He says to fund duplicate programs, classes and sports teams. Opportunities he says the district is wrongfully promising.

Dave Olson: “More costs to come.”

If the vote fails, school board members are back to the drawing board, and class sizes will continue to increase. They'll have to wait a year for a re-vote. If the referendum passes, an owner of a 200-thousand dollar home would pay 154 dollars more in taxes starting in the 2011 tax year.