School boundary issue heats up
Odds appear good the 2003 North Dakota Legislature will consider revamping the shared Fargo and West Fargo school district boundary. Whether that's a good thing depends on who you ask. "We would have no choice but to oppose" any chang...
Odds appear good the 2003 North Dakota Legislature will consider revamping the shared Fargo and West Fargo school district boundary.
Whether that's a good thing depends on who you ask.
"We would have no choice but to oppose" any change, said West Fargo Superintendent Chuck Cheney. "We will defend ourselves."
The Fargo School District would welcome having state legislators look at the issue, said Lowell Wolff, administrator of public relations and planning.
School funding in the community needs to be more equitable, he said, and the Legislature could help to achieve that.
In 1973, the Legislature changed school district annexation procedures. The common boundary separating the Fargo and West Fargo districts hasn't changed since then, even as Fargo has grown to the west and south. Today, nearly half of the West Fargo district's local tax revenue comes from property in Fargo, primarily the West Acres area.
Legislative action, if any, could involve the redistribution of tax revenue from property in the West Acres area.
The Legislature also might take up the issue of future tax revenue from largely undeveloped land, in the West Fargo district, that's east of the Sheyenne River and south of Fargo. If Fargo's current growth continues, this area will be developed over the next few decades.
Sen. Tim Flakoll, R-Fargo, and a member of the Senate education committee, said he's fairly certain the boundary/tax revenue issue will come up in the Legislature, which begins its 2003 session on Jan. 7.
The community has grown considerably in the past 30 years, raising questions of "What's fair?" today, he said.
"I think (legislators) will look at different options and what's best for everyone," he said.
Cheney said the West Fargo district will fight any attempt to limit or reduce his district's tax revenue.
"We'd find many allies," he said. "We're up to the task."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530