News

To which school district go the children? Development by I-94 straddles Dickinson, South Heart district line

by Insight Technologies | May 16, 2012
A development northwest of Interstate 94 and west of Dickinson sits in two school districts. Bickering over who gets the students — either Dickinson or South Heart — could ensue, officials said Wednesday.

A development northwest of Interstate 94 and west of Dickinson sits in two school districts. Bickering over who gets the students — either Dickinson or South Heart — could ensue, officials said Wednesday.

“Why should we lose students just to let Dickinson expand their student count?” asked Ken Koppinger, South Heart Public School Board vice president.

Dickinson Public Schools and city officials met with Roers Development Inc. of Fargo at Dickinson City Hall to discuss possible problems arising from a 540-acre tract of land for the South Heart Public School District.

The plot expands one mile beyond the two districts’ border, opening the question of which school should students that will live in the area go. Roers plans to annex the land into Dickinson or have the city expand its school district lines to absorb it, CEO Jim Roers said.

Officials from South Heart were not present at the meeting. Koppinger said he was not aware of the meeting and had not heard that the development crossed into the South Heart School District.

“If I’m South Heart School District, my first question that would fly into my head is why should we give up tax for valuation?” DPS Assistant Superintendent Vince Reep said. “It’s not that Dickinson Public is unfriendly, but there’s the connotation that the big dog is going to eat up the little pups.”

SHPS may not be able to accommodate more students, but that doesn’t mean they won’t give up potential students, Reep said. Koppinger agreed, adding he was against losing land to Dickinson.

“My response is can Dickinson accommodate it?” Koppinger asked. “We know they are building a school. Why can’t South Heart be accommodating and build on too to accommodate those kids?”

DPS has open enrollment, which serves 33 students not living within the district. Its school board has discussed changing to closed enrollment, Reep said.

The decision is up to the district, Roers said. This issue may take a year to solve, DPS Board President Kris Fehr said, adding this is the time to have these discussions with SHPS.

“I want to be sensitive to them, and tell the South Heart district that we are not coming in with 20 people to tell them what to do with their district,” she said.

The company plans to develop the land for commercial and residential use. The DPS board has not made decisions for a junior high school.


News Archive

Join Our Newsletter

Dickinson Groundbreaking