Minot Public Schools Looks for State Funds - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Minot Public Schools Looks for State Funds

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With a December 10th Bond Vote fast approaching, the Minot Public School System is looking to the State to help fund new school construction.  But is help actually available?

Over the next five years, it's projected that the Minot Public School system will be short 450 seats in the Kindergarten through Second grades.  "Many of our communities growing, and they're growing rapidly and are simply out-growing facilities," stated Mark Vollmer, Superintendent of the Minot Public School System.

On December 10, Minot residents will be asked to vote on a $125 Million Dollar Bond that will create a new elementary school, and convert and renovate other Minot Public Schools throughout the city.  But the School System isn't waiting until December 10th to look for other funding.  "There's been a lot of people looking at that Common Schools Trust Fund and wondering if that is an option for school building in the state of North Dakota," added Vollmer.  The Common Schools Trust Fund was created in 1889 when the state was first established.  It's money that was set aside to ensure educational opportunities for all North Dakota Students.  It's money that's so far been given out on a per-pupil basis.

"We will work with the Legislature in the next Legislative session to see if there are funds that are available to help fund building projects, capitol projects, for school districts across the state of North Dakota," says Vollmer.

So the answer is, the money is there, and there's a chance it could be used for school building projects, but right now, there is no legal way for school districts to access the funds. 

"If the state would come up with a certain amount of money maybe through a grant program or a matching-grant program then that would go against that $125 Million.  It wouldn't be in addition too that, it would be in lieu of the sale of those bonds," says Vollmer.

While the Minot Public School system will have to wait until 2015 to see if there is a way to access the Common School Trust Fund, for now they can set their eyes on December 10th. 

"One Hundred Twenty-Five Million Dollars is a lot of money, but there is a lot of building that will take place with this.  And this is not a short-term solution.  This is the board taking a look and saying what are we going to do long term here to meet the needs of a very diverse, and very growing community," says Vollmer.

Vollmer went on to say he and the rest of the Minot Public Schools staff will continue to get the facts about their growth out to Magic City residents before the December 10th vote.


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