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Helmut Schmidt, Published June 12 2012

Former board member, two incumbents win West Fargo School Board race

WEST FARGO – A former board member and two incumbents won the three spots up for election Tuesday to the West Fargo School Board, according to complete but unofficial results from the secretary of state’s office.

With 14 of 14 precincts reporting, board member Kay Kiefer led the way with 23.5 percent of the vote, followed by former board member Jeff Shirley with 22.8 percent, and board Vice President Patti Stedman with 20.8 percent.

Challenger Gail Flom had been on Stedman’s heels throughout the night, pulling 18.6 percent of the vote, followed by Shelley Treib with 14.0 percent.

“It’s very humbling, that’s for sure. I’ve been kind of overwhelmed by it all evening,” Shirley said of the result.

He said he would focus on staying on top of the district’s budget. He added that he also wanted to make sure the community’s increasingly diverse cultural groups feel engaged with the schools.

Attempts to contact Kiefer and Stedman late Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Only two of the three incumbents ran for re-election on the seven-person board.

Board President Ben Koppelman did not run for re-election. He is running as a Republican this fall for a state House seat in District 16.

The School Board race is a nonpartisan contest.

The seats carry four-year terms. Board members are paid an annual salary of $4,100.

Newly elected members of the board will take their seats in July. At that time, the board will also elect new officers, the district’s website stated.

The board has just come out of a particularly active stretch of work

Last year, it received voter approval for $82.5 million in school construction.

That led to the construction of Freedom Elementary, which will open this fall just south of Interstate 94 and east of Veterans Boulevard.

Construction has also begun about a mile south of Freedom Elementary on Liberty Middle School, and the expansion of the Sheyenne Ninth Grade Center into Sheyenne High School.

Construction of another elementary school is expected when enrollment hits a trigger point in the next couple of years.

In the meantime, the board will be working on the issues of integrating a second high school and middle school into its system, including balancing class and extracurricular offerings between schools north and south of Interstate 94.

The other School Board members are Dave Olson, Karen Nitzkorski, Angela Korsmo and Judy Kvaale.

Of the 16,115 votes counted, Kiefer had 3,785, Shirley had 3,674, Stedman had 3,350, Flom had 3,001, and Treib had 2,257.