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Helmut Schmidt, Published April 08 2013

West Fargo School District to add second assistant superintendent position

WEST FARGO – The school district here will reorganize its top administrators to add a second assistant superintendent position.

But, to get there, the board agreed to eliminate one cabinet director post and is ending plans for a position dedicated to fostering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and 21st-century learning skills.

The board voted 6-0 Monday to have one assistant superintendent for elementary education and a second for secondary education.

The elementary education assistant superintendent must also take on overseeing assessments (testing) and federal programs under the plan offered by Superintendent David Flowers.

That means the elimination of the director of assessment and federal programs post now held by Beth Slette.

The secondary education assistant superintendent will have to also oversee the 21st-century learning and STEM initiatives.

Flowers said tight money played a big part in the decision. He said it doesn’t appear this Legislature will switch the current student funding system, which makes per-pupil payments one year after students arrive in a district, to a system that pays for students the same year they arrive in a school district.

As it is, West Fargo took in 570 more students last fall that it must educate without the help of state per-pupil funding for them until the next school year starts this coming fall.

Human Resources Director Robin Hill said the reorganization should produce a modest cost savings for the district, but she said that amount won’t be known until hires are made.

In other business, the board:

• Accepted bids to add two classrooms at Osgood Kindergarten Center.

The total of the winning bids for the project was $449,005. That is $35,995 less than the $485,000 the district’s architects estimated it would cost.

The low general construction bid was $346,600 by Roers’ Construction. Northern Plains Mechanical won the mechanical contract with a bid of $54,755. Charlie and Sons Electric won the electrical contract with a bid of $44,800. The special inspection and quality assurance testing contract was won by Northern Technologies with a bid of $2,850.

The expansion is part of a plan, along with moving fifth-graders to Liberty Middle School, to provide enough classrooms for new students enrolling this fall south of Interstate 94.

Construction of the district’s next elementary school at 3700 54th St. S starts this spring. That school is to be ready by fall 2014.

• Accepted the low bid of $354,500 by Rick Electric to install energy-efficient lighting at West Fargo High School.

Business Manager Mark Lemer said the project will pay for itself in energy savings in about 10 years.

The bid was $14,500 more than had been budgeted for the work.

Board member Karen Nitzkorski was not present.

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