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Two challengers, Stedman win bids for West Fargo School Board

When the polls closed Tuesday, June 14, School Board President Patti Stedman was excited to know she could continue working on the projects started with a $98.1 million bond referendum voters passed in November.

She and eight others were seeking one of three open seats on the West Fargo School Board.
In complete but unofficial results, Stedman was elected to her third term with 17 percent of the vote along with newcomers Andrea Payne, who had 14 percent, and Dan Schaeffer, with 13 percent.  

Incumbent Jeff Shirley lost his bid for re-election, falling 87 votes short of Schaeffer, or less than 1 percent. Shirley was followed by Shelley Treib, Darrick Mischke, Terry Lee, Barry Miller, and Justin Briscoe.

There were 709 write-in votes, with 311 of them for controversial teacher and coach Jim Jonas. Jonas retired from West Fargo Public Schools earlier this year, and while he said he would like a future in politics, he did not file for candidacy.

Schaeffer was narrowly edged out of a School Board seat in the 2014 election when only 9 votes separated three of the six candidates vying for four open seats. Weeks later, he was also considered as a candidate to fill the seat vacated by Kay Keifer, but the board decided to appoint former board member Dave Olson to the position. Olson did not seek re-election.

Stedman said she would like to continue overseeing projects the bond allows, including an $18 million aquatic facility, two new elementary schools, a $16.5 million hockey facility and many other additions and renovations at schools across the district.

“I think just to finish what we started and have some consistency with the team of players that we have will help keep moving in the right direction,” Stedman said. “And, I still enjoy it. I wouldn’t run if I didn’t enjoy it.”

Stedman said it will be up to her fellow board members if she remains president, but she is willing to continue the job.

“If somebody else was really dying to do it, they could,” she said. “I won’t fight someone for it.”

Stedman was first elected to the board in 2008 and has served as board president since 2014.

School Board members are paid $8,400 annually and serve a four-year at-large term. The School Board President is paid $9,000 per year.

Complete but unofficial results

Patti Stedman, 17 percent, 2,807

Andrea Payne, 14 percent, 2,226

Dan Schaeffer, 13 percent, 2,051

Jeff Shirley, 12 percent, 1,964

Shelley Treib, 10 percent, 1,567

Darrick Mischke, 8 percent, 1,335

Terry Lee, 8 percent 1,244

Barry Miller, 7 percent, 1,202

Justin Briscoe, 7 percent, 1,066

Write-In votes, 4 percent, 709

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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