Community members belonging to a group called The Yes for Students Committee have come out in support of the $39.5 million bond election scheduled for April 8.
"We have close to 400 elementary-age students in portable classrooms across the district," said Daryl Somerville, chair of the Yes for Students Committee, in a press release. "That's simply not a good long-term solution for educating our kids. Portables are not classrooms. There isn't running water or bathroom access without sending kids into the main school buildings. Voting yes for this bond will allow for our students to be housed in classrooms that are part of brick and mortar buildings with the appropriate facilities and add much needed safety upgrades across all schools."
Voters defeated a $125 million bond issue in December. The proposal voters will decide in April is a scaled back version of the original proposal.
If the April 8 bond issue is passed, taxes would go up an estimated $123.83 per year for the owner of a $200,000 home in Minot and $185.75 per year for the owner of a $300,000 home.
If passed, the bond referendum would pay for construction of a 550-student elementary school on land the district already owns in southeast Minot, for classroom additions and renovations at Perkett and Edison elementaries and safety and security upgrades at other schools in the district, which would include relocating school offices to a centralized location, additional security cameras and buzzer systems to enter schools.
The district would pay for the project with a $20 million school construction loan from the state at 1.72 percent interest and by sale of $19.5 million in general obligation bonds. The district will also use a $222,000 state safety and security grant, which requires matching local funds to a total of $444,000 and by taking $592,000 from the district's reserve fund.
Superintendent Mark Vollmer said the low interest school construction loan is only available through May 15. If the bond issue fails, the district will have to notify the state that it won't be using the loan. The funding would then be given to another school district in the state that is on a waiting list for those funds.
The election will be held at the Minot Auditorium from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8. Absentee ballots are available through the Ward County Auditor's Office and early voting will take place from March 31 to April 3 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Ward County Courthouse.
The Chamber of Commerce board of directors also passed a resolution of support at its February meeting, according to the press release.