Akers: The people in our district need to be more informed, and then hopefully they will become more involved. They need to be made aware of each step and when it will be taking place.
Bourdon: West Fargo is at a crossroads. Facing economic, environmental and social challenges, the West Fargo School Board has an opportunity to rally our citizens to identify problems and possibilities for the educational needs of our students and community. I would champion a planning process where the community envisions the future it wants for our students and begins to make it a reality; to develop a community education vision that reflects our core values, capturing diverse viewpoints, representing a wide variety of interests. Creating this type of vision requires deep and wide participation from people in all walks of life. This input will more accurately show what we like about our community and what challenges we face, and these ideas will lead to plans and strategies for improving the quality of education for our students today and into the future.
Colter: We need to clearly educate/communicate to the community on what is going on in our schools...and paint the picture for them on what it will look like in the near future if we don't have structures in place for growth. If you study the boundaries and projected population growth/housing developments, you know that people aren't going to stop moving into our school district. Sooner or later the district is going to run out of room and there will be two options: bring in portable classrooms around the schools or build schools to accommodate the need. If school buildings become too overcrowded, then the quality of education will suffer. This is a fact that has been proven over the years nationwide. I taught in one of the fastest growing counties in the nation at the time and had to teach in a portable classroom, so I know what that is like for a teacher and from a student's perspective. We need to stay on top of and educate our community better, as we could go from a district known for being strong educationally to the other end of the spectrum very fast.
Too many people are still not coming out to vote in the community...which to me means they don't know what is going on or don't feel the urgency to get involved. We also need to find ways to make it easier for community members to vote. I've had various people comment to me that the polls weren't open long enough for the recent election with people's work schedules in today's world.
We are in a tough position as a community right now. With taxes looking to be raised at a federal level and at the local level with flood control, people are starting to feel overwhelmed as we've seen at the recent polls in the district. We need to work to find a solution that the supermajority can support. We all recognize that everyone won't agree, but we need to build a consensus for a supermajority and move forward.
Durbin: The district will continue to grow and we need to be ahead of the growth, not chasing it. I believe we should communicate not only with those that support our views but those that oppose them. Open communication on all sides of the issues will increase understanding and foster support. I also think that if the community has trust in the board and superintendent they will vote for what is best for the kids.
Hawley: As a board, we need to sit down with the people directly involved with the "Vote NO" initiative, and gain better understanding on their concerns. We need to find the common threads that allow our community to move forward together rather than divided. I have studied, listened, and continue to educate myself on the current facility utilization plans. As a board and community member, I would be visible (and I have had opportunities to do this already) and speak with our community about our district's needs and the reasons for those needs. Thinking outside of the box is required, since no plans have the ability to be implemented immediately, and affect the problem directly tomorrow. Anything that is adopted will take time.
Korsmo: The first step would be to find out why the last two failed - why the "no" voters voted no. We need to find out what the patrons of the district want, listen to their suggestions, and involve them in the planning. Then we need to clearly communicate to the public what the plan is and what it will cost.
Kvaale: The first step is to restore the trust the community and the West Fargo district's staff have in the school board. Without that, the bond issue will most likely not pass. We need to go out into the community to find out why the last two bond issues didn't pass. It is important to visit with the Vote NO committee as well as the Vote YES committee. Use that information to modify the bond issue so that it will receive better community support. Then keep the flow of communication going, and look for ways to connect with community members on a personal level providing them with enough information, including how the referendum will affect the students, so they can make an informed decision.
Loos: The teachers, administration and school board need to develop a plan all three groups can support. This plan then needs to be sold to the public through various media and informational meetings. The key is to get the plan established as soon as possible. The plan can then be tweaked based on the public's response to ensure a 60% supermajority support.
McDougall: I think the Board should be more open and honest when questioned by the community. Start with an open slate - no preconceived ideas - and truly seek the public's input. There is no way to please everyone, but I feel the Board wasted a lot of time and money on this last round by not actually listening to what the public said. And when the public asked questions, it seemed the Board responded with canned answers designed to solicit a specific response.
Nitzkorski: Our district has made measurable progress from the first bond to the second, so we need to honor that work yet move beyond it with a more acceptable plan for voters.
We need to do what's best for students, carefully listen to our opposition, and get more people out to vote.
Olson: Our school board and administration needs to reinstall trust with our teachers and taxpayers. This can only be done by our actions and deeds over time. Our board and administration must show to our teachers and taxpayers that what we say is exactly what we do. When trust is improved then we can move on to full transparency showing to the public in great detail how we can financially operate new schools that provide equal programs for every school. We need to meet with yes and no voters to bring them together to find common ground without having a prior agenda. We must seek out taxpayers who didn't vote and find out their ideas and what they might support using various methods like mailings, newspaper, telephone, and internet. We have to exhaust all means to formulate the right plan for our kids and community. I believe 52 percent and 57 percent yes votes are not acceptable especially when past referendums had more than 80 percent approval rates. These are challenging but exciting times in our district. I look forward to this challenge and many more tasks working hand in hand with new/current board members, a new superintendent, and our previous business manager. Together with teachers and taxpayers help we can accomplish great things for this district.
Sahli: My platform is to have compromise between those that oppose and those who are for it. My solution after the first failed referendum was to invite all those who were opposed to a town hall meeting of sorts and find out what they opposed. We need to compromise on what is absolutely necessary and to be good stewards of the taxpayers. The plan has to be communicated properly.
Simonson: I believe that the School Board and the administration need to get out and listen to what the people are saying are the real issues behind the bond issues not passing. Taxes play a part in it, but from what I hear there are other issues involved in the "No" vote. I think that with a new superintendent, business manager and new people being elected to the school board, it will afford the district the opportunity to give a fresh perspective to where the district is going - whether that means, finances, building buildings, establishing a better rapport with staff and the community.