WDAY: The News Leader

Published September 21, 2010, 10:16 AM

Option to consolidate Barnes County schools is voted down

Spiritwood, ND (WDAY TV) - Without even raising taxes on property owners, a vote to consolidate schools in Barnes County was voted down. The district that covers nearly 40 miles, needed a 60 percent "yes" vote. It got 50-percent.

The Spiritwood School behind me is 1 of 3 schools in this district. All of them are starting to show some age this one here is about 100 years old. That's just 1 reason why the school board members thought now was the right time to build a brand new school in a centralized location for all students.

Total cost for a new school would have been around 14 million dollars, and 4 million of it would have been tax free. With that incentive the switch, money-wise, it would have been seamless.

The district would save money at one location by having fewer teachers and consolidating heating and cooling bills. There would have been no extra costs in the way of property taxes for residents living in the district.

"The people that voted no believe that there is a possibility that we could re-model one of the sites and add on to that at a lesser cost, but it's not centrally located.”

That school is about 50 years old and is 9 miles west of a central location. The tax incentive has now expired for the district; Jacobson says they will continue to look into alternative options.