JAMESTOWN, N.D. (NewsDakota.com) – The Jamestown Public School Board is looking at other ways to finance repairs and construction within the school district.
Following the September 25th, 2018 referendum failure to pass, the district and school board have become responsible for looking into alternatives to provide a facility plan. Superintendent Dr. Rob Lech reports that the plan must address the aging facility in terms of infrastructure, update facilities to support 21st Century Learning, and it needs be supported by 60% of the voters within the school district.
“Based on conversations with voters on both sides of the referendum, two aspects of the referendum proved most polarizing,” Lech’s report stated. “[They were] cost and inclusion of an athletic complex.”
Lech’s report says the feedback received was the cost to taxpayers was prohibitive.
“It is important to note that the Citizen’s Advisory Committee recognized the high cost and felt the recommendation presented to the board and eventually to the public was the most representative of the community feedback against a phased project.”
The board will be looking at the next steps and options to consider using the perspectives of those the supporters and opposers of the referendum provided.
According to Lech, some of the options include bringing forth another referendum, which he says would be the most-time consuming option. He says they could also pursue a vote to enhance the building fund, increasing the building fund of 10 mills to 20 mills.
“It is worth noting that, unlike a sinking and interest levy, a vote on the building fund would exist in perpetuity. This board, and future boards, would have discretion regarding how many building fund mills to levy each year,” Lech’s report says.
Other options include bonding from the building fund or some combination of the three other options. Lech says it’s his recommendation that the board continue to explore options and bring something back to the June primary if possible.
“Waiting will simply exacerbate the need and overall expense,” the report stated.