November 18, 2009

School to request grant funds for new school bus

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Taking advantage of a new funding provision enacted by the last North Dakota Legislature, the McKenzie County Public School District No. 1, at its Nov. 9 meeting, decided to request a $75,000 grant from the McKenzie County Commissioners to help fund the purchase of a new school bus.
According to Steve Holen, district superintendent, under the provisions of HB 1304, which was passed by the 2009 State Legislature, a portion of the gross production tax that is received by McKenzie County from oil and gas production will be set aside in an Infrastructure Fund which the county commissioners will make available annually to area school districts and townships.
“According to information that I have received from Frances Olson, McKenzie County auditor, the county commissioners will determine how to distribute these funds at their December meeting,” stated Holen. “We must submit an application by Nov. 20 to be considered for this round of funding.”
In reviewing the funding information with the school board, Holen noted that the county would only have approximately $90,000 in Infrastructure Funds available this year because of the way that the county receives the gross production tax receipts. However, according to Olson, in 2010, the county could have in excess of $850,000 available in the Infrastructure Fund.
“This fund is going to have a big impact on us in the future,” stated Holen. “But the language that created the fund does seem to limit school requests to only funding of buses.”
In other business, the school board:
• Approved hiring Karen Leiseth at $9.30 per hour for 3½ hours per week as a dishwasher at the high school and Tina Kostad at $9 per hour for 3½ hours per week at the elementary school.
• Was informed by Holen that the 2009 general fund mill levy of 105 mills will generate $1,211,561.40 for the district.
• Was informed that the district will be submitting a tuition bill to the Earl School District for one student attending McKenzie County Public School District No. 1.
• Was informed by Holen that the Instant Alert System will be operational by Thanksgiving.
• Took no action on an easement with the City of Watford City to correct drainage problems at the elementary school.
• Was informed by Holen that the new marquee sign has been installed and is operating. Twenty thousand dollars of the cost of the sign will be paid from the district’s concession account with the remainder being funded from stimulus funds.
The next meeting of the McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 school board will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14.