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Helmut Schmidt, Published August 22 2012

Baesler has 3-pronged plan to improve K-12 education

WEST FARGO – Kirsten Baesler wants to revamp how North Dakota pays

K-12 foundation aid, and boost students’ college and career readiness by funding remedial learning programs and high school advanced placement classes.

Baesler, the Republican-endorsed candidate for superintendent of public instruction, laid out her initiatives at a news conference Wednesday outside the Sheyenne 9th Grade Center.

Baesler said the state should make foundation aid payments based on the current year’s enrollments, instead of paying school districts aid based on their previous year’s enrollment.

For fast-growing school districts like West Fargo, which will open with 500 more students this fall, that aid will be invaluable in providing the books, teachers and buildings that they need, she said.

“We must be able to meet the needs of a growing population” fueled by a strong economy and the oil boom, she said.

Baesler also called for better use of student assessment tests, such as the ACT, to determine which high school students need remedial help before they graduate, and to offer grants to school districts to create pilot programs to provide that remedial training.

Finally, she called for more state funding for dual credit and advanced placement classes in high schools.

Baesler is a teacher and assistant principal in the Bismarck School District, and president of the Mandan School Board.

Her opponent, Tracy Potter, is a former state senator for Bismarck, and was the Democratic U.S. Senate nominee in 2010. He is executive director of the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation.

The superintendent of public instruction is a non-partisan race. The office carries a four-year term. The current salary is $102,868 per year.

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