New Salem-Almont bond vote set for October 1

NEW SALEM, N.D. - Voters in the New Salem-Almont school district will soon decide on a more than $7 million bond.

Students coming back from the bookmobile on Tuesday at Prairie Elementary in New Salem, making the walk from the bus, about 300 feet to the front door.

"The winter time it gets pretty cold just walking here you’ll see where a lot of kids might veer off and not use the steps because it's slippery no matter how much ice melt you put down,” Superintendent Brian Christopherson said.

The distance, and safety concerns, are a part of the reason the district is looking at an addition to the elementary school. It would also include six new classrooms giving more room to the special education department, which right now, is operating in about 300 square feet. It would also give teachers more space in their rooms.

"Now we're talking about collaboration our critical thinking skills our 21st century skills and that's we're incorporating most schools are doing that, in order to do that you can't fit 30 kids in there even 25 kids in a classroom that was built in the 1960s isn't efficient space,” Christopherson said.

Christopherson says they also want to improve the career and technical center area in the high school. Right now students can take introductory courses, but there's not enough room for everyone to do the hands on activities.

"The career and tech industry is growing and we want to be able to provide our students that want to go in that direction a great career,” Christopherson said.

According to a calculator on the district's website, approval of the bond would increase taxes on a $100,000 home by about $160 a year. Christopherson says for agricultural land, it's anywhere from $1 to $1.65 per acre more.

"If you're voting no I understand, if it's not in the cards and it's too expensive and it does hurt the farmers and ranchers the most, and we understand that and the board, we have farmers and ranchers on the board,” Christopherson said.

But he says if they wait five years, the projects will be more expensive, and a bigger tax burden on residents.

Voting is October 1 at the New Salem Almont High School and Almont Memorial Hall from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

To see the potential tax hike, click on the school expansion project tab at new-salem.k12.nd.us.