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Tioga Bond Issue

Tioga Bond Issue

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Across western North Dakota, school administrators have been dealing with a rapidly-growing student population and, in many cases, not enough space to educate them.

Next week, Tioga voters will be heading to the polls to decide on a bond issue for the elementary campus.

Bonnie Campo has this story.

In Tioga, both the high school and the elementary need larger lunch rooms, and since the state can't allocate more money, schools are asking for a 9 point 9 million dollar bond issue from their taxpayers.

(Tim Schaffer, Tioga Elementary Principal) "A majority of that bond issue would be for central down here. So we get one building again. It would be for about eight classrooms, a music room, a new office area, and a new lunch room and cafeteria. I think for a two-hundred and fifty thousand dollar a home, it's about two-hundred and fifty bucks a month more on your taxes."

Just yesterday the high school had three more students enroll, and as for the elementary, in the six years Schaffer has been at the school he has seen the population grow from 106 children to around 270.

(Tim Schaffer, Tioga Elementary Principal) "Right now we have two buildings for our elementary campus, and we got kids going back and forth through the buildings. We do get money for grants, for temporary stuff, but nothing permanent. In fact our modular unit we got ten classrooms out there, but it's temporary, nothing for brick and mortar right now."

The elementary is currently in violation with the fire marshall regarding school capacity codes, but have they no other choice-- the kids have to eat and learn somewhere.

(Tim Schaffer, Tioga Elementary Principal) "We just hope we pass our referendum to do school construction, and follow the plans that have been put in place for about the last two years we have been doing facility planning."

But after bond proposals failed in the neighboring areas of Kenmare and Bottineau, both the Superintend ant and Principal in Tioga can only hope their community sees the need for this construction.

(Tim Schaffer, Tioga Elementary Principal) "I believe that the people of Tioga are very supportive of education. There is no question of that. I also believe that many of them have stated that they wish that there was some more state help to fund these things and not have to put in on to their taxes. We have either got to make a decision as a community of whether or not we are going to do construction, and if that does not happen then we got to seek alternatives, and I am not quite sure what those will be yet, but we are going to have to find space for kids."

Oil brought many of the new students into town, and no one knows when they and their families might leave, but Tioga has taken the position that no matter how kids are coming to them, it's their job to teach them.

For KXnews, I'm Bonnie Campo.

The bond vote will be held January 16th at Tioga's Central School from 11-7.

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