West Fargo Schools $106.9 Million Bond Referendum to Raise Property Taxes

It'll cost homeowners $15.79 for every $100,000 of home value

WEST FARGO, N.D. — More than 500 seniors just graduated from West Fargo Public Schools, but that doesn’t even come close to more than 900 students in the district’s kindergarten classes.

“It’s relentless growth. The district is projected to grow 400–500 a year. That has happened for the past several years,” said David Flowers, superintendent of West Fargo Public Schools.

Now to fit all those students, West Fargo Public Schools are trying to get a $106.9 million bond referendum passed.

It will add another middle school and high school to the city.

It will also add classrooms for the gifted at several schools, provide security upgrades, build a gym, office and turf at  Harwood Elementary.

“The bonds would be sold over a two year period in four installments as the cash is needed for the new construction between 2019 and 2021,” Flowers said.

However, it would take 20 years to pay off the debt with the help from taxpayers.

“So the $106.9 million referendum will cause an increase of 16.4 mills to the taxpayers. However, we’re in a district that is able to mitigate the impact of the 16.4 mills and actually reduce that for a couple of reasons,” Flowers said.

Flowers says one reason is because of the new property that keeps getting added to West Fargo, which increases the district’s value. The second is the debt West Fargo Public Schools is paying off every year. That means taxpayers can expect to pay $15.79 more a year in property taxes for every $100,000 of home value.

In 2011, West Fargo Public Schools passed a $82.5 million referendum and in 2015, they passed another one for $98.1 million. Flowers says the district didn’t ask for all the money at once because of the debt it could have put them in.

“You’re on the side of asking for more than you actually need now or do you take a more cautious and conservative approach as we have,” Flowers said.

West Fargo Public Schools will need more than 60 percent of people to vote in favor of the referendum come September for it to pass.

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