Three men will be battling for two seats on the Killdeer School District Tuesday.
By Brad Mosher
School Board president Scott Bice will be on the ballot, but running unopposed.
Larry Lundberg will be trying to survive an at-large challenge by City of Killdeer Police Chief Eric Braathen.
The fate of the two races will be determined by voters Tuesday June 11 at the Killdeer School wrestling room. Voters can also vote by absentee ballots.
According to the challenger, he can bring a law enforcement background to the board. “It would be a different perspective for school safety issues .
“But the biggest reason is that I have already one child in the school and I will have another one starting in about a year. I want to also have some input on what my kids are doing in school.
“I feel that with my experience in government and my leadership experience, it makes a good fit for the board,” he added.
He cited more than 16 years of experience in leadership roles involving city or county government as proof of his expertise and capabilities to help if elected to the school board.
“I am a police chief of a five-man department,” he added. “I have also attended a lot of council meetings so I have a good idea of what to expect (on the school board).”
Braathen said the current school board has done a fair job so far. “I do know that there are a couple of things coming up… I have been on a board improving security for the school and I know the (Dunn County) Emergency Manager has been to the school board to discuss funding for different security issues.
“A big issue coming is the addition, the new school. I have been meeting with Mr. Wilz (the district superintendent) on a weekly basis and discussing how over capacity they are.
“That is going to be a big issue that the school board will have to work on,” he added.
“I look forward to, after winning the election, to start taking that on.”
Looking further ahead, Braathen said there will still be some big challenges in Killdeer. “Ten years from now, if they get a new school built or if they don’t, there is a high turnover rate among the children. Once thing we have to do is maintain the good teachers we already have. We have to look into in the near future and further increasing teacher salaries and finding the funding for more programming for all of the needs of the different children.”
On the board for three years, Lundberg is hoping to remain there.
The incumbent, a former Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, knows that the board is in the middle of making tough choices which will impact the Killdeer School District for many years to come.
“School growth and trying to find a solution to our overcrowding in the schools… at this point, we are not exactly sure what the solution is going to be,” Lundberg said.
“There are many challenges, but I believe that is the one that is forefront on our minds and drives a lot of our discussions.”
The big stumbling block now is securing land for the new campus, he added. “Once we secure some land, then we can move forward and come up with a more detailed plan (for the new campus).
“Sometimes we have the land, but the access to it is the challenge. Or it is the price. Or not big enough. Or in a bad location,” he said.
“Until we find land, it is hard to have a plan.”
Still, the board is meeting the challenges they face, Lundberg said.
“Our kids need a quality education and a big component of that quality education is by having smaller class sizes. When you have smaller class sizes, you simply need a lot of space to do that,” he explained. “We have always prided ourselves on having a good quality education at Killdeer. We’d like to continue that.”
As far as funding for the district, Lundberg said he sees some things that will help the district fund programs in the future from other than tax dollar in local real estate. We are hopeful and optimistic,” he added.
Bice is running unchallenged as the board president and the representative for the East-West Area.