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School Board approves administrative reorganization, awards bids for Osgood addition

After the resignation of assistant superintendent Louise Dardis and less-than-stellar news from the Capitol that growing districts would not receive appropriate funding from the state, the West Fargo School Board unanimously approved a reorganization -- presented by superintendent David Flowers -- of the central administrative system.

“We had anticipated -- and were hoping -- that the financial picture would be more supportive of growing districts like ours,” Flowers said. “We received 570 new students this year, and have yet to receive funding for them. Yet we have had to staff for those students and open a new school.”

The new reorganization plan calls for two assistant superintendents, one to oversee things at the elementary level and one at the secondary level.

“In the current structure, all directors and principals directly report to the superintendent,” Flowers said, “which in a district of 8,000 is becoming unwieldy.” With this new setup, the ongoing search for a “Director of Strategic Initiatives” -- a position that the district had been conducting interviews to fill -- has been suspended.

The elementary-level assistant superintendent would assessments and federal programs under this structure, which would eliminate the director of assessment and federal programs position currently held by Beth Slette.

The main concern for Flowers and the board was the cost of the reorganization, but human resources director Robin Hill insist that it would not created much of an impact in the budget for next year, and according to Flowers is the best for student achievement beyond the next school year.

“I cannot, in good conscience, increase the number of administrators in the district in a time when we’re faced with not being staff the instructional positions we will likely need next year... but this will perhaps position us better for the long term,” Flowers said.

The board also unanimously awarded bids for the addition classrooms onto the Osgood Kindergarten Center.

Winning bids went to:

• Roers’ Construction, Fargo, for general construction.

• Northern Plains Mechanical, Fargo, for mechanical construction.

• Charlie & Sons Electric, Moorhead, for electrical construction.

• Northern Technologies, Fargo, for special inspections and quality assurance.

The total cost of the accepted bids is $449,005, which is just under $36,000 below the architect estimate for the project.

The construction, which adds classrooms off the north side of the building, is set to be completed by August 10, which raised some concern amongst board members since construction cannot begin until the ground thaws.

“This is a smaller project than many of the ones we have done over the course of a summer,” business manager Mark Lemer said. “We should be okay.”

After this addition, there is no ideal place to add on to the building again if that was necessary.