West Fargo Public Schools' explosive growth isn't slowing anytime soon

West Fargo Public Schools surpassed Fargo in 2020 to become the state's second largest school district, just behind Bismarck Public Schools.


WEST FARGO — For more than a decade, West Fargo Public Schools has been growing by 300 to 500 students per year, just as its consultants predicted it would. Those same consultants say that growth rate doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon, and the second largest school district in the state is on track to become the largest in the near future.

RSP & Associates presented its latest enrollment numbers to the West Fargo School Board this past month. The Kansas-based school planning experts have long calculated West Fargo's enrollment numbers with consistent accuracy.

In the 2022-23 school year, the district saw 1,111 kindergarten students and grew in total by about 447 students, which was within 57 students of the number predicted by RSP.

"It would appear we're growing about 15 times faster than Fargo right now," West Fargo Schools Business Manager Levi Bachmeier said.

West Fargo Public Schools surpassed Fargo in 2020 to become the state's second largest school district, just behind Bismarck Public Schools. Bismarck Schools counted 13,279 students in 2022, and West Fargo counted about 12,700. Fargo Public Schools had 11,364 at the end of 2022. Moorhead Public Schools had 7,427 students on the first day of the 2022-23 school year.


RSP Associates uses birth rate information, demographics, land use, city planning projections, economic factors and more — a total of about 450 elements — to project enrollment.

RSP CEO Robert Schwarz said the West Fargo School District is expected to grow to 14,800 students in the next five years, and a majority of that growth will continue to come from the south side of Interstate 94.

"Everything south of I-94, we see enrollment growth. North, we see more declining," he said.

Schwarz said building activity has averaged about 1,000 units per year across the district. However, it is important to note that building and city growth does not necessarily reflect growth in the city of West Fargo.

"If no new developments occurred, we would still continue to grow," Schwarz said.

Although it is named the West Fargo School District, the district also includes Horace, Harwood, Reile's Acres, parts of Fargo and rural areas.

A Map showing the boundaries of West Fargo Public Schools
Troy Becker / The Forum

Schwarz said the north part of West Fargo could turn into an area of high growth once the Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion is finished and the city of West Fargo finishes its plans to decommission its wastewater lagoon system, which could free up about 600 acres for development.

"We are paying attention to the city of West Fargo's treatment plants," Schwarz said.


The likely growth to West Fargo Public Schools is a familiar story to the district that has had to build a new elementary school nearly every year in the past five years.

The district has a preferred capacity in all of its elementary schools of 7,056 elementary students. RSP predicts the elementary population will grow from 6,707 students to 7,353 by the 2027-28 school year.

They project the middle schools population will grow from 2,800 to 3,300, and the student population of the district's three high schools will grow from 3,400 to 4,100.

Readers can reach reporter Wendy Reuer at or 701-241-5530 . Follow her on Twitter @ForumWendy .

As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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