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Bill Palmiscno leads School Board candidates

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Doug Carpenter poses for a portrait in his office at Alerus Financial. Carpenter said there isn't much room for an increase in pay which teachers proposed a salary hike of five percent for the upcoming school year and three percent in the 2018-19 school year. (Joshua Komer / Grand Forks Herald)4 / 5
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Bill Palmiscno was the top vote-getter among five candidates, including incumbent and School Board President Doug Carpenter, who appear to have won seats on the Grand Forks School Board.

As of press time Tuesday, the top five candidates, with 22 of 22 precincts reporting, were: Palmiscno, with 21 percent; Chris Douthit, 17 percent; Jacqueline Hoffarth, 16 percent; Shannon Mikula, 15 percent; and Carpenter, 10 percent.

Nine candidates vied for the five open positions, elected at-large, on the nine-member School Board.

Other candidates were Darin Lee, with 8 percent; Brian Reybok, 5 percent; James Kelso, 4 percent; and Henry Howe, 3 percent.

Vote totals are unofficial, preliminary results.

Current board members who chose not to run for re-election this year are Katie Dachtler, Alma Torres Pierce, Meggen Sande and Eric Burin, the board's vice president.

Dachtler instead ran against Mark Rustad and won a seat on the Grand Forks City Council, representing Ward 2.

Burin, Dachtler and Sande are completing their first four-year terms on the School Board.

Pierce was appointed by the board to serve the unexpired term of Dane Ferguson, who moved to Mandan, N.D., last summer.

Other board members are Amber Flynn, Eric Lunn, Cynthia Shabb and Matt Spivey.

This is a critical time for the district because several important issues are at hand, Carpenter has said.

Board members are grappling with issues relating to financial pressures that stem from a freeze in per-pupil funding from the state, teacher contract negotiations, facilities master planning, school safety, youth suicide and a possible referendum on a property tax increase.

The board has recommended that three committees be formed, with stakeholder representation, to address 21st century learning and whether facilities meet the needs of 21st century learning, and to create a fiscally sound plan to address identified needs, Carpenter said.

The newly elected board members take office at the July 16 meeting.

Leadership of the district will transfer, too, when Terry Brenner, director of curriculum instruction, assessment and professional development for Grand Forks Public Schools, takes over as superintendent July 1, replacing the retiring Larry Nybladh.

School Board members earn $3,500 a year. The board president earns $4,000 a year.