Unofficial Results: Williston Public School District 1 Bond Referendum fails to pass

(Source: MGN Online)

WILLISTON, N.D. - It's an unofficial count, as absentee ballots continue to arrive, but it looks like Williston Public School District 1 Bond Referendum did not pass.

Initial results show Question 1, for the $60 million bond, getting 58.7 percent of the vote.

For Question 2, the mill levy increase for building funds, a little over 57 percent the vote.

The questions needed 60 percent of the 2400 plus votes to pass.

School Board President Joanna Baltes says it's very disappointing for the families and children in the community suffering with the overcrowding in the schools, which Baltes says is only going to get worse.

"The vote not passing, at this point affects our ability to get schools online by fall of 2020, which again, is just incredibly frustrating," said Baltes.

Baltes says right now, asking property tax owners to foot the bill for schools is the only option. She says there's no mechanism for the state to come in and assist with construction. Right now, the state helps with operational costs, but not construction costs. She's hoping that bills going before the North Dakota Legislature will change that.

"We're not allowed to use our operational funding for construction." said Baltes. "So, it's a huge problem in an area where you cannot convince your voters that it's important to build schools."

Baltes says the board meeting Monday will include discussing next steps, and whether or not to submit the same plan to voters in the future.