Minot Public Schools Bond Vote - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Minot Public Schools Bond Vote

Minot Public Schools Bond Vote

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The debate is over -- it is time to vote.

Residents within the Minot Public School district were asked make a big decision today.

Jim Olson is live at one of the many polling places to give us an update.

 

I'm at Edison Elementary - one of eleven polling places that have been open since seven this morning.

Voters in the district are being asked if they support a 125 million dollar bond to build new schools, upgrade existing facilities, and improve security district-wide.

Perry Olson has more on the vote that if approved, would be the first school bond passed in the Magic City in more than 40 years.

 

Tuesday was one of the biggest days in the history of the Minot Public School system -- it is set to change the course of what the district looks like moving forward, regardless of how the vote turns out. If the bond is passed -- new schools will come online to meet growing demand. If it fails, new methods of educating kids may be implemented, and more than likely...another bond vote in the near future as well. Superintendent Mark Vollmer says the process of getting to today didn't actually begin at the start of the school year when it was announced to the public...rather a few years ago.

(Mark Vollmer - MPS Superintendent) "These discussions started right after the flood...talking about how we were going to recover from the flood, how we would deal with this growth."

Many were in early getting the quick vote completed -- just two questions on the ballot...one asking for approval of the 125 million bond, the other for an increased debt limit to sell them...

(Kendo Carlson - Washington Elementary Principal) "I think it has been a big build-up to get to this point. We have parents who are ready to come out to vote and the kids are having a little mock election of their own which they are pumped about." (Mark Vollmer - MPS Superintendent) "All in all, it has been a very positive process. Anytime we can get out and share our story with our patrons that is an important thing. It is also very important to keep our community involved because education is truly a community process."

And in the community is where Vollmer has been the last few months. By law, he can only provide information about the district, the plan, and the needs moving forward. He says he has done that -- and has been heartened by the interest taken by the community.

(Mark Vollmer - MPS Superintendent) "Many of our residents who don't have kids in school maybe don't see the effects of the overcrowding that we have had, but many have been very interested in this process and learning about the schools and the school system."

Does that translate into the first successful bond vote in 44 years? Vollmer, and everyone will have to wait a few more hours for that answer. In Minot, Perry Olson, KX News. 

The polls remain open for a little less than one hour still today.

You can vote at Jim Hill, Ramstad, and all the elementary schools except for Roosevelt.

We should have complete results for you tonight at 10pm -- 60 percent is needed to pass.

With eleven polling locations, it's hard to say what kind of turnout there'll be for today's vote.

 

Ward County Auditor Devra Smestad says the last time there was a single issue on the ballot, about six thousand people voted.

Today, she distributed 600 ballots to each of the voting locations.

And a handful have come back looking for more ballots to serve all the people voting.

Smestad says overall, it seems like lots of people have taken the time to vote.

(Devra Smestad, Ward County Auditor) "The lines seem to be consistent, not real long lines, there's been somebody in every precinct every time I've been there and they say they're just steady or gradually coming in. There's not real lines or waiting for somebody else and they're all very excited about how quick they're in and out."

The total turnout will include about 500 absentee ballots that were counted this morning - and more than 500 other ballots filled out in early voting last week at the courthouse.

There won't be any partial results to report tonight - because all of the voters are considered to be in one precinct.

Smestad expects to have a final vote count by about 8:30 tonight.

And again, the school bond issue requires a 60% majority in order to pass.

The second issue on the ballot - raising the borrowing authority - requires only a simple majority.

Reporting live from Edison Elementary, Jim Olson, KX News.

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