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1 new face joins 3 incumbents in winning West Fargo School Board race

Seven, including three incumbents vie for four seats

Jonas Jim
Jim Jonas is seen Monday, March 14, 2022, at a West Fargo School Board Meeting in the Leidal Education Center.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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WEST FARGO — After seven candidates vied for three seats on the West Fargo School Board on Tuesday, June 14, three of the four incumbents will return to the board with one new face, who received the second highest vote totals.

In complete but unofficial results, Jim Jonas took an early lead in the polls with 16.96% of the vote with 17 of 17 precincts reporting. Newcomer Jessica Jones received the second-highest vote percentage with 16.93% of the vote, closely followed by incumbent Jessica Jackson, who received 16.86%. Incumbent Jon Erickson received 14.58% of the vote.

Mark Staples, who had been appointed to a seat on the School Board, received 13.86%. Challengers Cole Davidson received 11.51%, and Scott Daniel Kasprick received 8.82%. Fifty-eight write-in ballots were received.

Although he is currently serving on the board, Staples, a 2013 graduate of West Fargo High School, was appointed less than a year ago. He was chosen to fulfill the term of Kara Gravley-Stack in August.

Jonas is a longtime teacher and coach in West Fargo Public Schools who is currently serving as school board president and is also running for a District 13 seat in the North Dakota House of Representatives.

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jackson.jpg
Jessica Jackson.

Jackson was seeking a second term on the board and Erickson sought a third term.

Erickson has served on the negotiations team the past eight years and worked with the teachers union to discuss what needs educators have over the years.

Jackson is a West Fargo native with four teenagers and a 2-year-old who will attend school in the district. She holds a bachelor's degree and masters in human development sciences.

jones.jpg
Jessica Jones.

In a candidate panel hosted by the League of Women Voters Red River Valley earlier this year, all candidates agreed that keeping property taxes low and seeking outside funding such as that from state and federal sources was paramount. At the panel, Jones, who works as a psychologist, empathized with other parents who had trouble accessing communication with school board members.

Jones said she grew up in a family of educators and stays involved in her own kids' learning. She pointed toward compensation but said morale and mental health of staff needs to be supported.

West Fargo School Board members are elected to four-year, at-large terms. The top four vote-getters will be elected to the four open seats.

The board is a seven-member panel. Candidates will join longtime board member Patti Stedman, Dan Schaeffer and Trisha Page. The three members are up for reelection in 2024.

Board members are paid an annual salary of about $9,380, and the president receives an additional $670.

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West Fargo Public Schools includes West Fargo, parts of Fargo, Horace, Harwood and surrounding rural areas.

Jon Erickson
Jon Erickson, candidate for West Fargo School Board. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Readers can reach West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at wreuer@forumcomm.com or 701-241-5530 . Follow her on Twitter @ForumWendy .

As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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