Residents vote down WFPS $147 million referendum

Valley News Live at 10:00PM KVLY - VOD
Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 8:39 PM CDT
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WEST FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - West Fargo Public Schools officials say, residents have voted down the $147 million bond referendum at today’s special election.

The comprehensive $147 million bond referendum package encompassed many diverse projects, including the construction of a new elementary school, expansions at Heritage Middle School and Horace High School, the enhancement of Early Childhood Special Education services, land acquisition, districtwide renovations and expansions, the revitalization and enlargement of South Elementary School, safety and security upgrades, and ice facilities.

With the referendum failing to secure a 60-percent approval rate, a task force will now convene to explore alternative solutions.

WFPS Superintendent Beth Slette gave a statement on the preliminary results:

I believe that West Fargo Public Schools is home to incredibly dedicated stakeholders . They have come to the table to ask tough questions, suggest solutions, and hold us accountable. That engagement and support is the reason we were able to pass referendums in 2011, 2015, and 2018. While we were not successful tonight, I believe that this is NOT an indication of a lack of support for our education system. Our job now is to reconvene a taskforce, made up of new and returning perspectives, to help chart our next steps. We also need to engage our community to better understand why voter turnout was low when compared to previous elections.

I would like to thank all the organizations that gave me and my team an opportunity to educate their membership on this referendum package. I would also like to thank our School Board members and the members of my administrative team. We will come together yet this week to start discussing next steps, because the growth is happening…the overcrowding is here…and we need solutions that provide the best environments possible for our learners and educators succeed in.”

Officials say, the school board will canvass the results at their next meeting on Oct. 9.