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School Security During the Fargo Public Schools Special Election - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

School Security During the Fargo Public Schools Special Election

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The special election vote next Tuesday is to re-authorize the district authority when it comes to mill levies with property tax. The voting will happen at nine locations in the Fargo area and seven of those include schools. Valley News Live looked into how the schools will stay secure when their doors are open to voters.

Six elementary schools and one high school will be used as polling places for the special election on Tuesday March 11, 2014. This is the first time a schools will be used since November of 2006.

"For decades upon decades we were using the public school buildings as voting locations in the city of Fargo, back in November of 2006, a district administration send a letter to the county asking alternative locations in oppose for using our schools and that letter was sent without our school boards knowledge," said School Board Member Jim Johnson.   

Fargo School Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schatz said another reason was school violence.

"After Columbine there were lots of things that happened in schools and schools across the country started to re-evaluate all sorts of things," Schatz explained.

Schatz explains that the voting setup at the seven schools will be isolated from students and activities.

"One of the elementary schools has a library right of the entrance when you walk in, you will be greeted by the folks that work the election for the county, they will have table and you will register just like any election and  you vote and leave the same way you came in," Schatz explains as one example of how the voting will be isolated.    

In addition two security guards will be on hand at each school at the expense of taxpayers.
Valley News Live asked how much the security guards will cost and Dr. Schatz said he did not know. The special election is estimated to be about $20,000.


School board member Jim Johnson says using the schools will make it easier for the voters to get out and vote.

"we want to make it easy for people to vote. Neighborhood schools are located in the neighborhoods," Johnson said.

Johnson also said that schools are public buildings and they ought to be used.

"although we are concerned on the daily basis about the security of the students and staff, we don't view having the public come into a public school building because they are owned by the citizens as a threat at all," Johnson said.

Despite the assertions that the buildings are open to the public when we requested today to see the rooms in which the voting will take place, Fargo Public Schools declined our request and cited security concerns.
 

Election Day for this Special Election is March 11, 2014. Early voting for the Fargo Public Schools Special Election began Wednesday and will continue until Friday evening at the Doublewood inn, located in Fargo.    

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