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Thompson voters turn out in record numbers for $10 million school expansion vote

THOMPSON, N.D.--Voters in Thompson rejected a $10 million school expansion Tuesday by a vote of 642 to 592. While 52 percent were in favor of the project, 60 percent was required for approval.

George Hoselton, right, holds the door for Myron Martinson Tuesday at Thompson School for voting the fourth time on a bond issue that would allow the school to update the facility with a multimillion-dollar project. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
George Hoselton, right, holds the door for Myron Martinson Tuesday at Thompson School for voting the fourth time on a bond issue that would allow the school to update the facility with a multimillion-dollar project. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

THOMPSON, N.D.-Voters in Thompson rejected a $10 million school expansion Tuesday by a vote of 642 to 592. While 52 percent were in favor of the project, 60 percent was required for approval. The school district posted the unofficial results on Twitter at 11:15 p.m. Daughter of couple who died in West Fargo shootings said domestic violence was part of parents’ past Minnesota man, 29, charged with sexually assaulting toddler Voters turned out in record numbers to decide for the second time this year whether the school should fund an expansion project with a $10 million bond, delaying results well into the evening hours. Superintendent John Maus estimated Tuesday night the bond question attracted more than 1,200 votes. That beats the voter turnout record set in May, when 981 ballots were cast for a similar bond vote for $11 million. That vote was seven "yes" votes short of passing. He said earlier that day he was unsure how taxpayers would vote.
"You try to be optimistic," he said. "There is a lot of work to be done either way if it doesn't pass or does pass." The school needs 60 percent of the voters to say "yes" to the project, which would include adding classrooms, a career and technical education wing and a gym while repurposing other areas of the school. This would mean a 58-mill increase for 20 years, or an increase of $2.84 per acre for agricultural land and about $260 on a home with a "true and full value" of $100,000. The school wouldn't be able to put the project on the ballot again for another year, Maus said, adding the next vote, if one is planned, may take longer than a year to prepare. "At that point, you have to take a step back," he said. "You can't come back every three months." This is the fourth time in four years that school district voters decide whether the school needs to expand. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2767461","attributes":{"alt":"Brooks and Travis Fretheim cast their ballots Tuesday. (Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald)","class":"media-image","height":"347","title":"Brooks and Travis Fretheim cast their ballots Tuesday. (Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald)","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]The small margin in which the bond failed to pass during the May vote prompted school officials to reallocate funding for the project-five mills will come from the school's building fund, which makes up about $1 million-so the increase in mills would be less, Maus said. "If it would have failed by 180 votes ... we wouldn't have come back in three months with this vote," he said, adding some voters encouraged the school to keep going. The fourth call for a vote has frustrated other voters, including Troy Marsh, who lives on Third Street, kitty-corner from the school. "I'm so ... irritated about it that I can't even tell you about it," he said of the multiple attempts to gain voter approval. "How many times? It's almost like little spoiled brats that are being crybabies that they didn't get their way." Taxpayers driving to the school to cast their votes probably noticed the purple sign in his yard that said, "If you want our kids to get a better education, hire better teachers. Don't build a bigger school. Vote no." The sign is not meant to discredit teachers, Marsh said, but he admitted it's an attention-getter, especially since it is so close to the school. He said teachers are doing a good job educating students, but he questioned the belief that "better lighting and a bigger room" will help improve the educational experience of children. He also argued the voters still are deciding on an $11 million project; the money is just coming from a different source. He said some residents can't afford the hike in taxes and the mill increase for what some have called a project for a new gym would hit farmers hard. Marsh also said he isn't convinced the project is warranted due to potential enrollment increase-the school estimated enrollment could increase by 11 percent by 2020. "They talk about the numbers, but basically, it's a teeter-totter effect," he said. "You have two or three more kids coming in and the same number going out." The project is for more than just a new gym, said Deb Kolling, a member of the Thompson Vote Yes Committee. Children are having classes on one of the gym's stages, including a music class that takes place during physical education. The school's small gym will be repurposed as a classroom for special education. "We know what our needs are," she said, adding the school has reached out to the community to research the project and the Yes Committee has tried to "tell the story" of the needs behind the vote. She said she understands why some would question the increase in taxes to cover the project, but the school wouldn't ask for an increase unless it knew they needed to expand the school, she added. "That's a big ask for anybody ... and we don't take that lightly, but the need is so great." she said. "That's why we are asking again." Maus said the school wants to do what is best for the taxpayers, pointing to engineer estimates that doing the project in small chunks would cost voters more in the long run.THOMPSON, N.D.-Voters in Thompson rejected a $10 million school expansion Tuesday by a vote of 642 to 592. While 52 percent were in favor of the project, 60 percent was required for approval. The school district posted the unofficial results on Twitter at 11:15 p.m. Daughter of couple who died in West Fargo shootings said domestic violence was part of parents’ past Minnesota man, 29, charged with sexually assaulting toddler Voters turned out in record numbers to decide for the second time this year whether the school should fund an expansion project with a $10 million bond, delaying results well into the evening hours. Superintendent John Maus estimated Tuesday night the bond question attracted more than 1,200 votes. That beats the voter turnout record set in May, when 981 ballots were cast for a similar bond vote for $11 million. That vote was seven "yes" votes short of passing. He said earlier that day he was unsure how taxpayers would vote. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2767460","attributes":{"alt":"A sign in Troy Marsh's yard tells taxpayers to vote no on a $10 million bond. (April Baumgarten/Grand Forks Herald)","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"A sign in Troy Marsh's yard tells taxpayers to vote no on a $10 million bond. (April Baumgarten/Grand Forks Herald)","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]"You try to be optimistic," he said. "There is a lot of work to be done either way if it doesn't pass or does pass." The school needs 60 percent of the voters to say "yes" to the project, which would include adding classrooms, a career and technical education wing and a gym while repurposing other areas of the school. This would mean a 58-mill increase for 20 years, or an increase of $2.84 per acre for agricultural land and about $260 on a home with a "true and full value" of $100,000. The school wouldn't be able to put the project on the ballot again for another year, Maus said, adding the next vote, if one is planned, may take longer than a year to prepare. "At that point, you have to take a step back," he said. "You can't come back every three months." This is the fourth time in four years that school district voters decide whether the school needs to expand.
The small margin in which the bond failed to pass during the May vote prompted school officials to reallocate funding for the project-five mills will come from the school's building fund, which makes up about $1 million-so the increase in mills would be less, Maus said. "If it would have failed by 180 votes ... we wouldn't have come back in three months with this vote," he said, adding some voters encouraged the school to keep going. The fourth call for a vote has frustrated other voters, including Troy Marsh, who lives on Third Street, kitty-corner from the school. "I'm so ... irritated about it that I can't even tell you about it," he said of the multiple attempts to gain voter approval. "How many times? It's almost like little spoiled brats that are being crybabies that they didn't get their way." Taxpayers driving to the school to cast their votes probably noticed the purple sign in his yard that said, "If you want our kids to get a better education, hire better teachers. Don't build a bigger school. Vote no." The sign is not meant to discredit teachers, Marsh said, but he admitted it's an attention-getter, especially since it is so close to the school. He said teachers are doing a good job educating students, but he questioned the belief that "better lighting and a bigger room" will help improve the educational experience of children. He also argued the voters still are deciding on an $11 million project; the money is just coming from a different source. He said some residents can't afford the hike in taxes and the mill increase for what some have called a project for a new gym would hit farmers hard. Marsh also said he isn't convinced the project is warranted due to potential enrollment increase-the school estimated enrollment could increase by 11 percent by 2020. "They talk about the numbers, but basically, it's a teeter-totter effect," he said. "You have two or three more kids coming in and the same number going out." The project is for more than just a new gym, said Deb Kolling, a member of the Thompson Vote Yes Committee. Children are having classes on one of the gym's stages, including a music class that takes place during physical education. The school's small gym will be repurposed as a classroom for special education. "We know what our needs are," she said, adding the school has reached out to the community to research the project and the Yes Committee has tried to "tell the story" of the needs behind the vote. She said she understands why some would question the increase in taxes to cover the project, but the school wouldn't ask for an increase unless it knew they needed to expand the school, she added. "That's a big ask for anybody ... and we don't take that lightly, but the need is so great." she said. "That's why we are asking again." Maus said the school wants to do what is best for the taxpayers, pointing to engineer estimates that doing the project in small chunks would cost voters more in the long run.THOMPSON, N.D.-Voters in Thompson rejected a $10 million school expansion Tuesday by a vote of 642 to 592. While 52 percent were in favor of the project, 60 percent was required for approval.The school district posted the unofficial results on Twitter at 11:15 p.m.Daughter of couple who died in West Fargo shootings said domestic violence was part of parents’ pastMinnesota man, 29, charged with sexually assaulting toddlerVoters turned out in record numbers to decide for the second time this year whether the school should fund an expansion project with a $10 million bond, delaying results well into the evening hours.Superintendent John Maus estimated Tuesday night the bond question attracted more than 1,200 votes. That beats the voter turnout record set in May, when 981 ballots were cast for a similar bond vote for $11 million. That vote was seven "yes" votes short of passing.He said earlier that day he was unsure how taxpayers would vote.
"You try to be optimistic," he said. "There is a lot of work to be done either way if it doesn't pass or does pass."The school needs 60 percent of the voters to say "yes" to the project, which would include adding classrooms, a career and technical education wing and a gym while repurposing other areas of the school. This would mean a 58-mill increase for 20 years, or an increase of $2.84 per acre for agricultural land and about $260 on a home with a "true and full value" of $100,000.The school wouldn't be able to put the project on the ballot again for another year, Maus said, adding the next vote, if one is planned, may take longer than a year to prepare."At that point, you have to take a step back," he said. "You can't come back every three months."This is the fourth time in four years that school district voters decide whether the school needs to expand.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2767461","attributes":{"alt":"Brooks and Travis Fretheim cast their ballots Tuesday. (Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald)","class":"media-image","height":"347","title":"Brooks and Travis Fretheim cast their ballots Tuesday. (Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald)","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]The small margin in which the bond failed to pass during the May vote prompted school officials to reallocate funding for the project-five mills will come from the school's building fund, which makes up about $1 million-so the increase in mills would be less, Maus said."If it would have failed by 180 votes ... we wouldn't have come back in three months with this vote," he said, adding some voters encouraged the school to keep going.The fourth call for a vote has frustrated other voters, including Troy Marsh, who lives on Third Street, kitty-corner from the school."I'm so ... irritated about it that I can't even tell you about it," he said of the multiple attempts to gain voter approval. "How many times? It's almost like little spoiled brats that are being crybabies that they didn't get their way."Taxpayers driving to the school to cast their votes probably noticed the purple sign in his yard that said, "If you want our kids to get a better education, hire better teachers. Don't build a bigger school. Vote no."The sign is not meant to discredit teachers, Marsh said, but he admitted it's an attention-getter, especially since it is so close to the school. He said teachers are doing a good job educating students, but he questioned the belief that "better lighting and a bigger room" will help improve the educational experience of children.He also argued the voters still are deciding on an $11 million project; the money is just coming from a different source. He said some residents can't afford the hike in taxes and the mill increase for what some have called a project for a new gym would hit farmers hard.Marsh also said he isn't convinced the project is warranted due to potential enrollment increase-the school estimated enrollment could increase by 11 percent by 2020."They talk about the numbers, but basically, it's a teeter-totter effect," he said. "You have two or three more kids coming in and the same number going out."The project is for more than just a new gym, said Deb Kolling, a member of the Thompson Vote Yes Committee. Children are having classes on one of the gym's stages, including a music class that takes place during physical education. The school's small gym will be repurposed as a classroom for special education."We know what our needs are," she said, adding the school has reached out to the community to research the project and the Yes Committee has tried to "tell the story" of the needs behind the vote.She said she understands why some would question the increase in taxes to cover the project, but the school wouldn't ask for an increase unless it knew they needed to expand the school, she added."That's a big ask for anybody ... and we don't take that lightly, but the need is so great." she said. "That's why we are asking again."Maus said the school wants to do what is best for the taxpayers, pointing to engineer estimates that doing the project in small chunks would cost voters more in the long run.THOMPSON, N.D.-Voters in Thompson rejected a $10 million school expansion Tuesday by a vote of 642 to 592. While 52 percent were in favor of the project, 60 percent was required for approval.The school district posted the unofficial results on Twitter at 11:15 p.m.Daughter of couple who died in West Fargo shootings said domestic violence was part of parents’ pastMinnesota man, 29, charged with sexually assaulting toddlerVoters turned out in record numbers to decide for the second time this year whether the school should fund an expansion project with a $10 million bond, delaying results well into the evening hours.Superintendent John Maus estimated Tuesday night the bond question attracted more than 1,200 votes. That beats the voter turnout record set in May, when 981 ballots were cast for a similar bond vote for $11 million. That vote was seven "yes" votes short of passing.He said earlier that day he was unsure how taxpayers would vote.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2767460","attributes":{"alt":"A sign in Troy Marsh's yard tells taxpayers to vote no on a $10 million bond. (April Baumgarten/Grand Forks Herald)","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"A sign in Troy Marsh's yard tells taxpayers to vote no on a $10 million bond. (April Baumgarten/Grand Forks Herald)","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]"You try to be optimistic," he said. "There is a lot of work to be done either way if it doesn't pass or does pass."The school needs 60 percent of the voters to say "yes" to the project, which would include adding classrooms, a career and technical education wing and a gym while repurposing other areas of the school. This would mean a 58-mill increase for 20 years, or an increase of $2.84 per acre for agricultural land and about $260 on a home with a "true and full value" of $100,000.The school wouldn't be able to put the project on the ballot again for another year, Maus said, adding the next vote, if one is planned, may take longer than a year to prepare."At that point, you have to take a step back," he said. "You can't come back every three months."This is the fourth time in four years that school district voters decide whether the school needs to expand.
The small margin in which the bond failed to pass during the May vote prompted school officials to reallocate funding for the project-five mills will come from the school's building fund, which makes up about $1 million-so the increase in mills would be less, Maus said."If it would have failed by 180 votes ... we wouldn't have come back in three months with this vote," he said, adding some voters encouraged the school to keep going.The fourth call for a vote has frustrated other voters, including Troy Marsh, who lives on Third Street, kitty-corner from the school."I'm so ... irritated about it that I can't even tell you about it," he said of the multiple attempts to gain voter approval. "How many times? It's almost like little spoiled brats that are being crybabies that they didn't get their way."Taxpayers driving to the school to cast their votes probably noticed the purple sign in his yard that said, "If you want our kids to get a better education, hire better teachers. Don't build a bigger school. Vote no."The sign is not meant to discredit teachers, Marsh said, but he admitted it's an attention-getter, especially since it is so close to the school. He said teachers are doing a good job educating students, but he questioned the belief that "better lighting and a bigger room" will help improve the educational experience of children.He also argued the voters still are deciding on an $11 million project; the money is just coming from a different source. He said some residents can't afford the hike in taxes and the mill increase for what some have called a project for a new gym would hit farmers hard.Marsh also said he isn't convinced the project is warranted due to potential enrollment increase-the school estimated enrollment could increase by 11 percent by 2020."They talk about the numbers, but basically, it's a teeter-totter effect," he said. "You have two or three more kids coming in and the same number going out."The project is for more than just a new gym, said Deb Kolling, a member of the Thompson Vote Yes Committee. Children are having classes on one of the gym's stages, including a music class that takes place during physical education. The school's small gym will be repurposed as a classroom for special education."We know what our needs are," she said, adding the school has reached out to the community to research the project and the Yes Committee has tried to "tell the story" of the needs behind the vote.She said she understands why some would question the increase in taxes to cover the project, but the school wouldn't ask for an increase unless it knew they needed to expand the school, she added."That's a big ask for anybody ... and we don't take that lightly, but the need is so great." she said. "That's why we are asking again."Maus said the school wants to do what is best for the taxpayers, pointing to engineer estimates that doing the project in small chunks would cost voters more in the long run.

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