Letter: Vote yes for Grand Forks’ future generations

The upcoming two-part referendum provides a great opportunity to positively impact future K–12 students.

Letter to the editor FSA

On June 22, the voters of Grand Forks will have the opportunity to impact the future of students for generations to come. As a parent and now grandparent whose children and grandchildren had and/or are having a great experience in the Grand Forks Public School system, I cannot but worry about the future. It is obvious that the school updates completed after the flood of 1997 are showing significant wear and tear. As a long-term higher education administrator, I am quite familiar with the frustration and negative impact that is caused by delayed maintenance as well as the importance of technologically up-to-date and environmentally safe facilities.

The upcoming two-part referendum provides a great opportunity to positively impact future K–12 students. The first component consists of general obligation bonds which will build an up-to-date middle school, a modern elementary school, establish centralized food preparation facilities, as well as provide updates and enhancements at 11 other district campus locations.

The second equally important part of the referendum will increase the building fund from 10 mills to 20 mills. The mill levy increase will generate approximately $2.5 million annually. Roughly 10 years ago the mill levy was at 20 mills but reduced to ten mills in essence causing a $25 million negative impact on service offerings and maintenance for the past decade. It is not hard to realize that if those funds had been available, the GFPS district would not be in such a dire situation today.

The Grand Forks Public Schools are one of the lowest-funded large school systems in North Dakota. We often hear of the “wow factor” of other school systems in the state especially in Fargo, West Fargo, Bismarck, and Minot. There is an old American Proverb – “Education is a gift that none can take away.”

A successful vote “yes” will allow Grand Forks to regain the “wow factor” and, more importantly, provide the solid educational environment so desperately needed.


Dennis J. Elbert, Grand Forks

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