County gives schools $4 million for debt reduction
By Neal A. Shipman
Christmas came early for the McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 in Watford City and the Alexander Public School District No. 2 as the McKenzie County commissioners approved distributing $4 million in Bankhead-Jones funds to the districts to help them reduce their building debts.
According to Erica Johnsrud, McKenzie County Auditor/Treasurer, the county received more Bankhead-Jones funds than was anticipated this year. The Bankhead-Jones funds are federal funds that the county receives annually as payment in lieu of taxes from federal lands in the county.
“We budgeted to receive $9 million and received $16 million,” stated Johnsrud.
With the county only able to use those federal dollars for roads or schools in the county, Commissioner Doug Nordby suggested that the funds provided to the school districts should be used to help pay for building debt.