Seeking Space Solutions

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Failed bond issue votes in the two main school districts serving Williams County have left school board members looking for ways to move forward.
Both Williston District One, and Williams County District Eight, are severely overcrowded but could not convince voters to support tax increases to fund new buildings.
This week, two new board members were elected in District Eight.
Both of them – and the president of District One’s school board – met with Jim Olson today to look at what’s next to deal with the classroom space squeeze.

Myles Fisher lives six miles from Williston – within a few football fields of a large pad of oil rigs – so he knows well what’s been going on in recent years.

(Myles Fischer, District 8 Board Member-Elect) “I like it here. I’m staying here to raise my family.”

That’s why he ran for the school board in District 8.

(Myles Fischer, District 8 Board Member-Elect) “Basically I don’t want to deal with the drama another 15 years living here.”

The drama surrounds competing bond votes between District One and District Eight – each had a major bond vote within a month of the other this spring and both failed.

(Myles Fischer, District 8 Board Member-Elect) “We’ve got a unique problem, it’s going to require a unique solution to fix it.”
(Kyle Renner, District 8 Board Member-Elect) “Constituents say if we did something together maybe the bond wouldn’t need to be as big.”

Kyle Renner attracted the largest vote total in Tuesday election. He says the people of District 8 tell him there needs to be cooperation with District 1.

(Kyle Renner, District 8 Board Member-Elect) “I think more people would like to see us work together and that might make it a smaller bond.”
(Joanna Baltes, Williston District 1 Board President) “I do think there’s a lot of fatigue in the Williston area over the issue of District 1 and District 8.”

Joanna Baltes is the president of District 1’s school board. She agrees it’s time to figure out a way for the two districts to cooperate. And just so you understand – the two districts are neighbors but are vastly different. District 1 is basically the city of Williston with 4300 students in about 16 square miles. District 8 surrounds District 1 with 1200 square miles and about 650 students.

(Joanna Baltes, Williston District 1 Board President) “I do believe if we can propose something that works for the community that people would be excited about it and maybe it would show the legislature we’re worthy of having some extra dollars here.”

She and the new District 8 board members say they agree – it’s time to work together to see if a solution that’s escaped them so far can be found. In Williston, Jim Olson, KX News.

The new District 8 board members say the issue will be taken up right away this July when they take their seats on the board.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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