Grand Forks Public Schools’ $86 Million School Bond Fails

"We have heard what the community has to say and we will go back to the drawing board."

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (KVRR) — People in Grand Forks vote no to both questions in Tuesday’s Grand Forks Public Schools referendum.

“We have heard what the community has to say and we will go back to the drawing board,” Superintendent Dr. Terry Brenner said.

Grand Forks Public Schools taking a step back after voters said no to both referendum questions.

“The first question was defeated resoundingly. Only 30 percent of the people across the community supported that. The second question I’m a little more optimistic about because 55 percent of the people, which is a majority, but it’s not the supermajority of the 60 percent that we need,” Brenner said.

Question one was to approve an $86 million dollar school bond to build a new K through 8 campuses on the Valley Middle School site. Question two was to approve a 10 mill increase in property taxes.

Brenner says the school board will have to have meetings about the next steps.

“We’re going to need to talk about how soon we want to go back to the voters relative to the 10 mills since 55 percent of the people thought that would be a good idea. How can we get to 60? Do we want to get that back in front of the public sooner, rather than later? That would help our budget as well,” Brenner said.

The budget is one of the major reasons Superintendent Brenner says was behind this referendum.

“We’ve had very few dollars to work with relative to ongoing maintenance with our facility,” Brenner said.

He says one of the buildings dates back 54 years ago. Brenner says the money from the referendum will have helped building maintenance such as boiler failures.

“We’ve taken $11.5 million out of our checkbook to pay for those catastrophic failures which have drawn down our general fund balance well below $5 million at the end of this month. That’s a very scary position to be in because $5 million is about two weeks’ worth of operational expenses, so we’re in a tough financial spot,” Brenner said.

The school board is holding a meeting Monday to confirm the votes.

Categories: Community, North Dakota News