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4 elected to West Fargo School Board after recount; board appoints outgoing member to fill vacancy

Cass County Auditor Mike Montplaisir, left, works with Mark Lemer, right, business manager for the West Fargo School District, and citizen representative Marlene Batterberry to verify the results of a recount for the West Fargo School Board on Monday, June 23, 2014, at the Cass County Courthouse in Fargo, N.D. The results confirmed those of election night. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

WEST FARGO – There was little change in the results of the June 10 School Board election after a recount Monday in which only five votes kept one candidate from winning a seat on the board.

The recount, certified at the Cass County Courthouse, showed Kara Stack, Jon Erickson, Shauna Vistad and Allan Skramstad were elected to the four open seats on the board. Dan Schaeffer missed out on the fourth open seat by only five votes. Candidate Patricia Moulton rounded out the field.

Although Schaeffer came up just short of enough votes in the election, he still had a shot at taking a seat on the School Board after President Kay Kiefer announced earlier this month that she is resigning from the board. Kiefer is moving out of town with her family.

But the board unanimously decided Monday night to appoint Dave Olson to fill the remaining two years of Kiefer’s term

Olson, like Judy Kvaale and 13-year School Board member Karen Nitzkorski, did not seek re-election. But after Kiefer announced her resignation, Nitzkorski said she lobbied Olson to fill the remaining term due to the high number of inexperienced board members.

“I honestly think the skill set that we will need in the next two years is sitting to my left,” Nitzkorski said of Olson on Monday.

As part of the recount that counted votes for all six candidates, 22 ballots were missing the initials of election officials, making the ballots invalid.

“Those 22 ballots resulted in lower totals pretty much across the board,” District Business Manager Mark Lemer said.

In the final recount totals, Stack received 1,714 votes, Erickson 1,546, Vistad 1,379, Skramstad 1,376, Schaeffer 1,371 and Moulton 1,278.

There were 38 write-in votes.

The June 10 election caused an automatic recount per state law after less than a half percent separated Skramstad and Schaeffer.

Skramstad, who was the only incumbent in the race, was appointed to the board last year after Angela Korsmo resigned.

Olson and election winners Skramstad, Erickson, Stack and Vistad will be sworn in at the School Board’s July 14 meeting.

The West Fargo School Board is composed of seven members. They are paid an annual salary of $4,730 and serve a four-year at-large term.

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 and at CBS Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 
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