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West Fargo School Board: New travel bus gets school board approval

On April 17, one of the West Fargo Public School's long-range buses "suffered catastrophic engine damage," the repair of which was estimated to be between $13,000 and $15,000.

"Although it is repairable, the cost more than outweighs its value," said West Fargo Transportation Director Brad Redmond during Monday's school board meeting.

"It's also a bus we've put a lot of money into during the past few years," he said.

The bus was slated to be retired at the end of the 2011-12 school year. Now, "it's time for her to go out to pasture," Superintendent Dr. Dana Diesel Wallace said.

Diesel Wallace said she knew the bus held "sentimental value" with drivers, but there was no fiscal reason to keep it.

Trust in the bus also is going down, Redmond said. Its replacement will be a 2005 International activity bus from Hartley's Bus Sales, and is expected to cost the school district $45,000 (actual price is $46,000, but Redmond expects the trade-in value of the district's bus to be $1,000).

Funding will come from stabilization monies.

Board approves Flowers' contract

Also Monday, the school board unanimously approved a contract for David Flowers, the district's next superintendent who is expected to begin work July 1.

The two-year contract calls for an annual salary of $160,000 plus benefits, which could bring total compensation to roughly $176,000. Flowers, who is the former superintendent of the Fargo School District and works for the Hutchinson (Kan.) School District, currently earns a salary of $159,000 with total compensation of more than $185,000.

Wallace, whose last day is June 30, earned a salary of $150,522 this year.

GraSUS receives support from WF

Kim McVicar, GraSUS Project Specialist, spoke with the West Fargo School Board about strides the program has taken throughout the area.

She also hoped to get a contribution from the district as it did last year.

According to its website, GraSUS (Graduate Student-University-School) is a GK-12 project funded by the National Science Foundation. GK-12 (Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education) programs provide support and funding to graduate students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) disciplines. NSF GK-12 programs provide opportunities for graduate students to gain knowledge in communicating science and research to audiences.

McVicar explained how GK-12 Fellows, mostly NDSU graduate students, bring ideas from their field into the classroom, the results of which have helped with sparking interest in science, math and engineering among district students and teachers.

West Fargo Assistant Superintendent Louise Dardis also noted that NDSU has allowed GraSUS to use "some of its science equipment, which is very expensive."

The school board said it would again consider donating funds to the program.