Fargo joins push for more school funding
The Fargo School Board threw its support behind a group of North Dakota schools that want more state funding for public education. Members voted 6-2 to join the North Dakota Kids Coalition. The two board members who voted against it - President J...
The Fargo School Board threw its support behind a group of North Dakota schools that want more state funding for public education.
Members voted 6-2 to join the North Dakota Kids Coalition.
The two board members who voted against it - President Jim Johnson and Robin Nelson - said they supported the idea, but wanted more details about how the organization is run before deciding.
Both later agreed to a second motion asking the board to forward unanimous support.
Twenty-five schools belong to the North Dakota Kids Coalition. It was initiated by nine school districts that filed a lawsuit against the state, alleging its school funding formula is unconstitutional.
That lawsuit has since been halted by a promise from Gov. John Hoeven to form a committee to look at how the state funds schools and propose more school funding in his budget request.
The Fargo board declined to join the coalition while the lawsuit was under way.
On Tuesday, board members debated whether joining would alienate them from legislators or give them a voice in future changes.
"The only answer is to join the group and perhaps influence and be part of the discussions," said board member Paul Meyers.
Others, including the West Fargo School District, haven't decided whether to join.
Warren Larson, superintendent of Williston Schools and one of the coalition's leaders, said earlier he valued any school joining the efforts. Members of the coalition pay a one-time fee of $1,000.
In related business, the School Board reviewed a proposed agreement between the district and the city of Fargo regarding sales tax collection if voters approve a one-half cent sales tax for schools.
The agreement was forwarded by a Fargo committee looking for ways to reduce property taxes. The last section of the agreement states the School District would include only properties being added to the tax rolls when calculating an increase in its budget.
Board members said they couldn't support that philosophy unless other government entities, such as the city and Park District, did the same.
In other business, the board awarded contracts for the Jefferson Elementary project. The school, at 315 16th St. S., will cost about $7.5 million.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Erin Hemme Froslie at (701) 241-5534