Minot School Vote on Tuesday - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Minot School Vote on Tuesday

Minot School Vote on Tuesday

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Election Day in Minot is tomorrow...

It is a day that will determine what the future looks like for the Minot Public School District.

If a 125 million dollar bond passes, two new schools would be constructed -- including a second high school, safety upgrades would be made, and renovations completed.

If it fails, school officials say it could require yearly shifting of school boundary lines within the district to try and handle an expected influx of students.

Tonight, Perry Olson talks with people from both sides -- those in favor of the vote, and those opposed.

It's a big question, one that hasn't been supported in Minot in 44 years -- should voters approve the selling of bonds to handle a growing student population by updating, and building schools. Daryl Somerville has chaired a committee built to get it passed...he says the Magic City has some catching up to do after more than four decades...

(Daryl Somerville - Yes for Schools Committee Chairman) "If you travel around the state and get into some of those schools, it really lets you know how far we have fallen behind as a community."

Seeing what other districts statewide have done...and what he says is needed here, he's supportive of the bond request -- Bob Hale is not.

(Bob Hale - Minot Attorney) "We don't need to replace anything or add anything today or even in to the future. The numbers are there. We have more than enough capacity. This is a rush...125 million dollar blank check is really what the Minot School District is asking for."

Yet the schools say that isn't the case. While student numbers were higher decades ago, school officials say education has evolved. Kindergarten, special education, optimal class size changes...they have meant a space crunch brought on by modern education that has forced the district into the usage of multiple portable classrooms...and even holding class elsewhere.

(Daryl Somerville - Yes for Schools Committee Chairman) "We have got one class at a professional building next door to Washington next to the psych department."

Funding over the last few months has been the biggest argument. Where should it come from? Hale contends that the state has been derelict in its duty of providing for a child's education. He says the money is there to build schools, plenty of it, and the ND Land Board is illegally withholding those funds found in the Common Schools Trust Fund.

(Bob Hale - Minot Attorney) "That is revenue that is not tax revenue but the school lands board has decided to bottle all of that up and not use a dime of it, and they are building major slush funds and they are violating their fiduciary duty to utilize those resources for the beneficiaries of that trust which are our kids today in the schools."

Land Commissioner Lance Gaebe disagrees. In a letter published Sunday in the Minot Daily News, he backed up what Land Board representative Jeff Engelson told the Minot School Board earlier this year...that as of today, funds aren't there for school construction...

(Daryl Somerville - Yes for Schools Committee Chairman) "If we can get them to understand that there isn't a pile of money down at the state that is just there for the taking for building new schools, some of those people actually understand that property tax and the bond issue is the only way that this is going to get done as of today."

Hale says that is something that needs to be contested...

(Bob Hale - Minot Attorney) "We are going to have to force them to use it for what it was intended to be used for why it is there."

So the question goes to the voters Tuesday. To build, or not to build -- 60 percent is needed for approval. In Minot, Perry Olson, KX News. 

You'll be able to vote Tuesday from seven in the morning until seven at night.

Polls are open at all elementary schools in the city of Minot except for Roosevelt, plus at Bell School, Jim Hill, and Ramstad Middle Schools.

We should have results of that bond vote tomorrow evening on KX News.

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