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Six West Fargoans in running

As the West Fargo School District anticipates unprecedented growth south of Interstate 94, future School Board members will have their work cut out for them.


As the West Fargo School District anticipates unprecedented growth south of Interstate 94, future School Board members will have their work cut out for them.

Candidates for the School Board said it's exciting to be part of a growing district, but growth also challenges the district's financial and building re-sources.

Five candidates - Troy Aswege, Susan Bailey, Nancy Kruse, Linda Meyer and James Osmanski - will vie for three open four-year terms. Thomas Gentzkow is running unopposed for a two-year term.

All of the candidates support the idea of building a ninth-grade academy to ease overcrowding at the district's high school. A community advisory group pitched the solution this spring. The School Board has yet to act on the recommendation.

While not a front-burner issue for the district, candidates said the idea of all-day kindergarten is intriguing. Studies have shown it can benefit students, they said.


But finding the space and paying for the program are two major concerns for five of the candidates. Right now the state does not reimburse districts for full-day kindergarten.

Meyer said offering full-day kindergarten would benefit working parents who often struggle with inflexible transportation and day-care issues.

Candidates also expressed hope they could work with the Fargo School Board to address language in the state Century Code that appears to challenge West Fargo's ability to run schools within the city of Fargo.

Candidates also have other issues they want to see addressed.

After serving on the School Board for two years, incumbent Aswege said he has the background and knowledge to be an effective leader.

"It takes a while to learn the issues," he said. "I'm hitting my productive time."

Besides growth, West Fargo's schools also are challenged by substance abuse among students and increasing ethnic diversity, he said. He wants to find ways to help the schools address these issues.

Bailey, an assistant Cass County state's attorney, said her background in education and law make her stand out in the field of candidates.


"Everyone's passionate, but I have skills that nobody else has on the board," she said.

A member of the advisory group that addressed overcrowding at the high school, Bailey praised the process of involving many parts of the community in recommending a solution. She wants schools to be safe haven for all students, she said.

Since her sons have grown, incumbent Kruse said she has more time to give back to the community as a School Board member.

"I want what's best for children in the West Fargo School District," she said. "I want to continue being a steward for taxpayers."

Her four years of experience on the School Board would prove beneficial, especially in light of the growth issues the district will continue to face, she said.

Meyer said she would be an advocate for children and their parents.

"Schools should be run like businesses," she said. "We need to realize the customers are the kids and the parents. We need to answer to them."

She said the district's graduation rate needs to be addressed and the district needs to support all students, especially those who receive special education services and fall through the cracks.


Osmanski, who was appointed to the board earlier this year, is running because he believes a good education is the best thing a child can receive to succeed in the future.

"I want all kids to have a good educational experience," he said.

He said he has experience working through controversial and tough issues. He served on the planning commission for the city of Riverside when it voted to merge with West Fargo. He said he also has experience in developing long-range plans and following them through.

The election is Tuesday. School Board members receive a salary of $1,000.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erin Hemme Froslie at (701) 241-5534

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