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Published May 11, 2012, 05:07 PM

Passage of ND Measure 2 Would Impact New South-end GF School Construction

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - School officials are concerned about a major issue on the June ballot. The district plans to build a new south-end elementary school, but construction on the school might have to be delayed if Measure 2 passes on June 12.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - School officials are concerned about a major issue on the June ballot.

The district plans to build a new south-end elementary school, but construction on the school might have to be delayed if Measure 2 passes on June 12.

That's because it would take away from the district's funding plan.

There isn't an exact location just yet for the new south-end school, but as the June 12 ballot day fast approaches, the school district has to delay the planning process in preparation for a vote to eliminate property tax.

"It causes us to drag our feet as a school district about this project," Grand Forks Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Nybladh said.

Earlier this spring the Grand Forks School District approved a new elementary on the south end. The district would like to open the school's doors by fall of 2014. But where the money would come from is a concern if the state votes yes on Measure 2.

"The mechanisms we use for that infrastructure are typically based on property tax, whether it be special assessments or bonding," Grand Forks Governmental Relations Officer Pete Haga said.

If the measure passes, it would eliminate the building fund levy, which means the school district would have no ability to raise funds locally to pay for the construction.

"We would have no mechanism to sell bonds for Grand Forks Public Schools or no mechanism to pay for those bonds because the property tax system would be gone," Nybladh said.

With a 550 student increase in elementary-aged kids projected over the next five years, Nybladh says a new school is a must.

"Looking at that June 12th date as a very critical date to whether we can do kind of business as usual or whether we have to wait and see what the new day is in North Dakota for school construction," Nybladh said.

"If that is taken away from our tool belt, then we will have to find a different way to fund those necessary infrastructures," Haga said.

School and city leaders agree a new school would accommodate rising student numbers and growth on the south end of town.

The June 12 vote is critical to not just for the school district but other aspects of the city as well.

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