Why Is This Important?

We are a group of parents and concerned residents who have banded together to recall all eligible members (Jim Johnson, Dr. Tracie Newman, Seth Holden and Nikkie Gullickson) from the Fargo School Board. Here are some reasons from community members why this recall is so important.

There’s a good reason. Something has been off with the school board. Masks, and the boundaries change. Somethings not right, like they pre vote on issues. Than ask the public for advice and feedback. When the decision has already been made behind the scenes. Not a fact, just seems that way.

Scott Brekke

They are no longer representing the best interests of our kids in terms of education and overall health.

Jonathon Anas

They are elected officials that are not representing the community wants. They make decisions before attending meetings. Their decisions have been government overreach.

Katie Cox

I don’t believe they represent the MAJORITY of our Fargo community members. The board is not diversified enough.

Noelle Vernoy

The FPS board has taken it upon themselves to push a liberal agenda without considering feedback from parents. They have lied about what is in store for future curriculum. Education should not surround topics that are politically-driven. Our children should be taught good values and how to be good people. They should not be labeled as “automatically racist” or “oppressed”. Life skills should be a must, not learning about different sexual orientations and preferences in elementary school.

Also, teachers have not been listened to as to what they need and want in order to have a thriving classroom, and thrive themselves. Teachers are getting BURNT OUT and if the school board is not making decisions that benefit them the greatest, we are going to lose our great educators.

Next, why are we putting so many “admin” and “support staff” in schools? Why not add additional educators and build new schools to create better teacher to student ratios, so that each individual student and teacher can have their needs met! THIS is what will create a successful school district and higher graduation rates.

Jessi VanDyke

I held FPS in great regard up until July 2020. They pivoted and provided opportunity for our kids to finish out the school year last spring in a situation full of unknowns. Then in July they began to roll out the “restart” plan and that’s when it all began to unravel. (1) They sent out a survey to parents on how we wanted to return (virtual, hybrid, or in class) then COMPLETELY ignored the results of the survey. More than 50% has indicated “in class.” That didn’t happen until Jan 19th. An entire semester lost. (2) Parents were told there would be parental representation on an advisory Covid committee. People were asked to submit their names for consideration. Those who submitted their names received no acknowledgement of their names being received, nor was there any appearance of an interview process for selection. In the end, only a few parents were hand-picked and they all had very close ties to FPS. They were NOT truly independent representatives of the parents. (3) Parents were introduced to the “restart” plan in July via a slide presentation and we were asked for questions and feedback. I had sent in a list of questions and concerns about the plan and the structure of the Covid Committee. Not ONE of my questions or concerns were addressed and the restart plan was not adjusted at ALL following the introduction meeting. It was all lip service. They wanted to give the appearance they were listening, but they did not care what parent questions or concerns were. (4) The Covid Committee, which was incorrigibly dominated in representation by FPS staff, ran amok with power and decision making, undermining our kids’ access and opportunity to education. The School Board abdicated their leadership and decision-making authority to the Covid committee with ZERO oversight. (5) It was the School Board’s responsibility to rein in the Covid committee. It was the School Board’s responsibility to listen to parental concerns and demand changes to the restart plan. It IS the School Board’s responsibility to require and assure access to and quality of education for our Fargo kids. When we needed a strong School Board the most, in a challenging situation, our current School Board wilted and abdicated their responsibility. —–> I was incredibly proud of FPS as of May 2020, but they lost all credibility with their actions (or complete lack of action) from July 2020 and beyond. If our current School Board cannot act with resolute leadership in the face of a challenge, they need to be replaced. Our kids’ access to quality education is at stake, and our current School Board failed in their leadership.

Colin Clarke

They are elected officials who are not listening to the public, being respectful to the public nor in responding to emails. We need people who will fight for what the public wants. Like the mask Requirement gone from schools. It’s the only place where EVERY kid is forced to mask up.

Amanda Davis

FPS is not looking out for our children’s best interest. It has gone beyond wearing masks. We need members who will listen to parents and put children first. It is no long about the kids and they are over stepping their boundaries with decision making. Some of their decisions are to be left to parents not them.

Denise Goehring

Both West Fargo and Fargo boards are taking their advice from the opinion of one epidemiologist at Fargo Cass public health. They ignore all other areas of health (mental, social) and focus on one issue. They should take this epidemiologist’s advice into context along with all the other issues affecting children when they make their decision. They should be reporting to adults in the school system the low risk children pose to themselves and to adults and also sharing with those that are fearful all the other mitigation efforts they’ve done (air filtration etc). Also, they have a pediatrician who provides medical insight who is NOT the pediatrician of most of the kids in the district she is serving. Parents choose the pediatrician they want to see for a reason so it’s a conflict of interest for her to provide medical advice.

Kelly Dettmann

The board has too much power and it’s gone to their heads – it’s time for parents to take it back.

Billie Peterson Carlson

Did you know they are trying to extend the school day for elementary kids? Start earlier and end later without compensating the teachers. I sub in the schools and a lot of these kids cannot handle another hour of being there. Teachers also had to start monitoring the recess… which has them losing prep time. Remember when everyone was saying how amazing teachers were during the pandemic. Seems like the school board may have forgotten that.

Emily Netland

I want to revisit the boundary change. The plan that passed was ranked 9/12, I believe… The conversations that Jim had outside of meetings and voting NEEDS to be discussed. That is 100% unbecoming behavior of a school board member.

Tricia Huson Barse

I hope that the building of a multi million dollar school to segregate students with disabilities is an issue. If the District would provide support and adequate staffing for teachers and provide the services the student needs they could have saved the money and improve education for all students. I agree the issue is bigger than masks and I hope all parents can join together in addressing the issues.

Brenda Ruehl

Boundary changes, teacher contracts.

Jennifer Anderson Christopher

CRT (Critical Race Theory) should have no place in the schools.

Jill Erlandson

The total disregard and lack of professionalism when dealing with concerns from parents on any issue. They literally steam roll any issue brought before them and when push comes to shove they pigeon hole the issue. Their main concern as a school board needs to be the safety and well being of the kids. Second in line should be concerns of parents on any issue. Any time those two coincide with each other that should be their number one priority.

Chad Erickson

My reasons are simple. 1)This school board has told the public the concern for the Teachers are greater than the concern for our children. It is painfully obvious that some members are political hacks and are serving their own interest and not that of the schools or community. 2)Critical Race Theory is extremely harmful and will not do anything to help minorities. It has the opposite affect and it disregards everything that we have stood for as a Country. Listen, debate, and apply is not a consideration with-in CRT and it will lead to a spot that most do not want to repeat. In itself, CRT is nothing more than racist propaganda linked to Totalitarianism. It serves nobody but can and will destroy everything as we know it.

Damon Kelly

I’d be interested in signing if it meant the boundary stuff was reconsidered! Sounds like there’s only one board member who wanted it and everyone else just went along. I just don’t understand why my kid has to go to a Jr High that is over 5 miles from our house when we have one just down the street. It’s silly.

Danaca Roberts

As a parent I had so many questions and wanted to be a part of solving the big issues this school year. As parents we were left out, teachers were left out. It came down to the school board and administration making decisions then in a bubble and taking no accountability for them. They just kept pointing fingers to someone else. Parents need a voice in their children’s education, our talented teachers need to be supported and allowed to teach. Public education should be a 3 parts, parents, teachers, communities. Parents and teachers were left out big time. Zero accountability, lack of conversations and actually answering questions and a whole bunch of big decisions being made for children in a bubble. Some key decisions that happened this year that left me puzzled confused and just over all angry. 1. Hybrid plan in the smart restart: The smart restart plan to me was here are the 6 mitigation strategies I need to fully implement them with zero consideration for education, children, parents and staff. As parents none of our questions were answered. As an employer there was no consistency with other districts in the area. Instead of fostering a space for learning the expectation was for teachers to be mask police and recess monitors. The overall loss of learning and exposure to things far riskier than covid to these children was just plan wrong. It was ridiculous.

2. School boundaries: choosing to ignore the many parents who voiced their concern with the plan. The questionability of how that option even made it to the board for vote. The overall option is not a smart one for many reasons, 1 it takes kids out of their current neighborhood and buses them to the other side of town and put them in a completely different school, and by doing so puts that school over capacity. It literally makes no sense and the board never defended the choice, never responded to questions as to why they decided that was the right choice nothing. Zero accountability for a decision that effects so many.

3. Current teacher negotiations: Our teachers have lost their voices as well. Many feel they are not allowed to or a not willing to speak up about decisions administration makes. They have asked for support and backing in current contracts and the board has not yet agreed. This is concerning why wouldn’t we be backing and supporting our teachers. The current schedule and overall contract being proposed to our teachers is a joke. Salary aside, the continuing trend of adding more to their responsibilities without showing value in return, higher student to teacher ratios and less prep time are all big factors that lead to overall teacher burn out. This is not ok, I don’t know how anyone can say that a teacher can effectively educate children with a 20 mins meal break in a 7 hour day. Not to mention that also is going to be expected to take 6 college credits a year to advance and earn a $500 raise. Those 6 college credits cost more than that. Majority of the teachers in FPS already have their master’s degrees and are extremely talented dedicated professionals who just keep getting more and more put on them it is crazy. They deserve better.

4. Continuing to mandate recommendations: FPS board has taken the recommendations of the CDC and turned them into mandates. Regardless of how I personally feel on the safety and effectiveness of masking. I feel that the mandate is a drastic overreach and not to mention these children are minors and as a parent I make decisions for my kid. I also fully expect the current school board to come back with a learning plan for Fall that says unless you can show proof of vaccine you will be mandated to wear a mask in the building. This would leave 2 options for parents vaccine or mask, no recourse, no out. it is a fear and not fact at this point in time. As a parent I feel that it is important that outside of a medical emergency I get to make medical decisions for my child and not this school board. the current board feels otherwise and therefore that goes into the collective parents reason for recall. Parents want a voice in decisions made for their kids.

Allie Ollenburger

Get r done. The nonsense has to stop. Why does Fargo and West Fargo seem to lead the state in the most restrictive and controlling measures?

Sharon Martinson

Tracie Newman is dangerous with vaccine push agenda. I’ll sign… Hell I’ll help gather signatures

Andrew Peterson

Oh crap…another meeting “for the public” that has “comments disabled”……I’m sensing a theme.

Brian Power

Parents do not want to trade a mask mandate for a jab mandate.

Ole Thomassen

Good! They will probably adapt critical race theory right under the public’s nose.

Vicki Nichols

The FPS school board has become too political. They are forgetting that they work for us, not the other way around. Most of them have their own agenda and completely disregard what parents have to say. There is no dialog with them and most of them won’t respond to emails.

The school board has over-stepped their boundaries in making decisions for our children that should be left to the parents (masks, teaching about transgender ideology and critical race theory).

They also seem to have very little respect for Fargo’s amazing teachers. Why are they hiring more support staff when classrooms are packed?? We need more good teachers!!! AND they deserve a fair salary!

Amy Mueller

The Fargo School Board has it’s own Dr. Fauci, namely Dr. Newman. Wrong on pretty much everything related to kids and Covid, but can’t handle losing control and ‘eating humble pie’.

Victor Palme