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Three school board seats up for election

Three West Fargo School Board seats are up for grabs.

Four-year terms are winding down for board members Patti Stedman, Kay Kiefer, and Ben Koppelman. Of the trio, so far only board president Koppelman has announced that he will not be running for re-election.

During a regularly scheduled meeting of the board Monday at L.E. Berger Elementary School, Kiefer and board vice president Stedman said they "think so," when asked if they would be running for re-election in June. Both were elected for the first time to the school board in 2008.

Koppelman will not be throwing his hat back in the ring, as he instead guns for the Republican nomination for the North Dakota House of Representatives in District 16, one of the state's newest districts.

District 16 is a legislative district to the area that represents parts of West Fargo and Fargo.

Koppelman began his term as school board president in July.

West Fargo Public Schools business manager Mark Lemer said most of the work leading up to the June 12 vote will be the burden of Cass County. County officials will be in charge of polling locations and ballots, as well as election results and canvassing.

Regular elections of school board members are conducted in conjunction with the June 12 Primary Election. Individuals interested in running for the school board must successfully complete an Affidavit of Candidacy and a Statement of Interest form. Both forms must be notarized and returned to Lemer by 4 p.m. April 13. Lemer's office is located at West Fargo Public Schools, Leidal Education Center, 207 West Main Ave., West Fargo.

After new school board members are sworn in, they will hold a vote during their first meeting in July to elect new officers. With Koppelman stepping down, someone will need to step to fill the void at president.

Community center takes step

Also Monday, the school board unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between itself, the city of West Fargo, and the park district, to conduct a feasibility study of a community center and aquatics facility.

UP Aquatics, a private entity has helped spearhead the movement. Although originally requested as a pool facility only, a joint meeting between the entities in January came to the conclusion that a community center may get more support from residents.

The feasibility study will include:

Creating a timeline for the work of a joint study group.

Determining the components to include in a community center and aquatics facility.

Identifying potential locations for the facility.

Determining an estimate of initial construction costs and operational costs, and then identifying potential funding sources for those costs.

Suggesting a model for the potential governances structure to manage to operations of the facility.

The only resources to accomplish the study will be staff time. No monetary commitments are being sought in the immediate future.

The city of West Fargo, the school district and the park district all coming together to accomplish this task is critical, Koppelman said.

"It is worth noting that these types of partnerships are what our constituents want us to do," he said.