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By Daniel Determan, Forum News Service, Published May 28 2013

WF School Board approves requests for new employees

WEST FARGO – The school board here on Tuesday approved 4-1 a staffing request to provide the district with the equivalent of 25 new full-time professional employees, including seven elementary teachers and seven middle school teachers.

Among the positions are one teacher at Sheyenne High School, four special education teachers, four emerging-needs employees and a half-time counselor for fifth-graders at Liberty Middle School.

“This attempts to allow for the growth we are expecting in grades K through 5,” Human Resources Director Robin Hill said. “We are not running out to hire out these positions. For the most part, we will wait until students register and the numbers reveal themselves a bit more.”

The total cost of these positions is $1,315,000, which will be taken from the district’s general fund.

“The big question is can we afford it,” Business Manager Mark Lemer said. “Really, we can’t afford not to. What this is going to require is finding ways to reduce budget requests from other departments and areas for things that are not essential, so that we can fund the staff without jeopardizing other parts of the budget that are essential.”

Board member Dave Olson showed concern about where cuts would be made.

Superintendent David Flowers suggested a few areas that could be reduced, including keeping supply budgets in check, delaying the adoption of new textbooks by one year and spending slightly less on technology.

In addition, the board unanimously approved a request that adds roughly eight employees to its classified staff, which includes an office paraprofessional for Sheyenne High School (which will give the expanding school three office paraprofessionals, at the request of Sheyenne’s administration), an administrative assistant to work from the Leidal Education Center and four new members on the district support staff.

The new administrative assistant will work primarily as a building receptionist and will work closely with the new assistant superintendents, Beth Slette and Allen Burgad, along with the curriculum and instruction department.

The request will also bring an “incremental addition” to the West Fargo High School library, where a paraprofessional will be hired to work in the afternoons.

The additions to the classified staff will cost the district $189,993, also taken from the general fund.

Board member Angela Korsmo was not in attendance.