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Helmut Schmidt, Published June 22 2010

Fargo Schools Administrator Dan Huffman resigns

The Fargo School District’s top financial administrator announced Monday that he’s resigning to pursue another job in the public sector.

Dan Huffman, the assistant superintendent for business services, submitted his resignation to Superintendent Rick Buresh and will present it to the school board at its regular meeting tonight.

Huffman said he had family and personal reasons “for wanting to do something in a different place, some opportunities to do something with my personal life.”

He said he would announce where he would work next soon.

Superintendent Rick Buresh said Huffman was not asked to resign nor was there pressure from the school board.

“I think he still had a very good working relationship with most of the school board members,” Buresh said.

Buresh said Huffman juggled many tasks and that some of those duties will be distributed to other individuals. He said the post should be filled within a month or two. He said that no firm date was set for Huffman’s last day with the district but that the resignation will likely take effect around July 1.

Huffman, who has been the district’s financial guru since he was hired in November 1992, said a recent audit of school district software purchases did not factor into his decision.

School board members questioned why a software system that was to cost $1.1 million eventually cost $2 million over two years, without the board being apprised of or voting on the extra expenditures.

Huffman on June 10 said he violated district policy by not communicating the added costs to board members. He promised to do a better job of providing the board information.

“I don’t think I did anything other than what I had the authority to do,” he said Monday.

“Was it the reason I’m leaving? No. And I understand in this business, there are differences of opinion. You work in the public,” he said.

Huffman has performed many functions for the Fargo School District over the years. In addition to keeping the books for the district, he has handled lobbying duties at the Legislature, led the administration’s negotiating teams in teacher contract talks, and guided the financing and construction of several schools, including Davies High School, which opens in fall of 2011.

He also worked as treasurer for the Metro Sports Foundation as a school district representative during a key period in the financing and construction of the Urban Plains Center hockey and entertainment arena in southwest Fargo.

The School Board meets at 5:30 p.m. today in the boardroom of the district central office at 414 4th St. N.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583