School system changes are an investment in ourselves
Creating a second high school in the Minot Public School District has been a topic of discussion for a number of years. In December, the community will have the opportunity to make a second high school become reality.
The Minot Public School District recently announced that it will hold a special election on Dec. 7 to ask voters to approve a bond issue to fund a new 9-12 high school, renovate Magic City Campus into a 9-12 facility, and turn Central Campus from a school for grades 9-10 into Minot’s third middle school for grades 6-8. The special election will be held at the Minot Municipal Auditorium; a 60 percent or greater majority is required to pass the issue.
Voters will see three questions on the ballot:
1: If they approve $84.4 million for the main project.
2: If they approve the first question, if they support an additional $24.2 million for a swimming pool and athletic complex at the new high school.
3: Ask voters to approve raising the debt ceiling to allow the district’s debt to be 10 percent of its assessed property value, up from the current 5 percent of assessed value.
When Minot voters supported a bond issue in 2014 to build John Hoeven Elementary and create additions at Perkett and Edison elementary schools, we knew those overdue changes were addressing only the first part of the overcrowding issues. School officials projected that the overcrowding issues would soon shift to the middle schools and high schools. Those predictions have come to fruition. Erik Ramstad Middle School is at or near capacity, Jim Hill Middle School is over capacity and is using numerous portable classrooms, and Central Campus is home to roughly 1,100 students in grades 9-10.
The needed changes to our public school district represent an investment in our students, teachers, staff, and our entire education system. A second high school and third middle school will help keep class sizes at appropriate levels. It will allow students and staff to better settle into productive routines for four years of high school, rather than attending two years at Central Campus and then two years at Magic City. It will allow teachers, staff, and students to build lasting and comfortable relationships. It will allow more extracurricular opportunities for students, from sports to art to theater to music.
Perhaps just as importantly, a second high school represents an investment in our entire community. A quality education system is vital to the continued success and growth of Minot. Businesses considering coming to Minot routinely ask about our education system, knowing that a good education system provides quality employees. When highly sought-after trained professionals, such as those in the medical field, are recruited by local businesses, one of their first questions is about our education system.
A great education system is also crucial to continuing and strengthening Minot’s relationship with the United States Air Force and the personnel who call Minot Air Force Base home. For members of the military families who have become our neighbors, friends, and co-workers, educational opportunities help ease the process of relocating to our community.
The City of Minot, Ward County, Minot Park District, and the Minot Public School District are separate entities, but all of us must take into consideration the financial needs of each other. The City of Minot recently approved a 2022 budget that included a nearly unnoticeable increase in our mill levy rate – a conscious decision by City staff members and the City Council to help the school district’s bond issue efforts.
We support Minot Public School District’s efforts to move our education system forward by adding a second high school and making other overdue changes and upgrades. Our students, staff, and teachers will be the biggest beneficiaries of these projects, but by no means are they the only ones whose lives will be improved. These changes are a commitment to providing a great educational experience with an abundance of opportunities for everyone.
As a community, we’ve made considerable commitments in recent years to help Minot evolve in its ever-changing role as a regional leader. Flood control. The Northwest Area Water Supply project. New parks and recreational opportunities. Upgraded and new facilities, including several at Minot State University. The school district’s project is an idea whose time has come, and represents another significant investment in ourselves.
Sincerely, City Hall
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