GRAND FORKS — The Grand Forks School Board on Monday approved the appointment of Brandon Baumbach as business manager of Grand Forks Public Schools.
Baumbach, vice president of business development for the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp., will start on May 9 with an annual salary of $130,000.
He replaces Scott Berge, who resigned in February to accept a position at Altru Health System.
Baumbach, who served as chair of the Emerado (ND) School Board for the past seven years, earned a bachelor’s degree in global studies and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota.
With EDC, “Baumbach’s leadership role, which includes visioning and assisting start-up companies, makes him an excellent fit within our organizational structure,” Superintendent Terry Brenner said.
Baumbach was among five potential candidates for the job. They were interviewed on April 12 by a panel of a dozen district administrators.
Although Baumbach does not hold an accounting degree, Brenner said his role as Emerado School Board chairman and the “extensive homework he has done in preparation to apply for this position demonstrates a commitment to understand school finances at the local, state and national level. .”
Brenner also had “a front row seat to watch Mr. Baumbach deliver concise and articulate messages to the EDC Board and Grand Forks City Council,” he said.
Other major school districts in the state — including Bismarck, West Fargo and Mandan — employ a business manager without an accounting degree, Brenner said, and “all are happy with the general direction of the business office.” .
On Friday, April 22, school district officials interviewed six candidates for the accounting supervisor position, who will report to Baumbach. The position hasn’t been filled, but it’s likely that the person taking the position will have a background in accounting, said Linsey Stadstad, GFPS’s director of human resources.
The council, at Monday’s meeting, also heard a report on data collected from approximately 1,350 students in grades 8, 9 and 11 regarding their use of alcohol, marijuana, cigarettes and vaping products. .
The anonymous survey, which has a 70% response rate, is conducted every two years opposite the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Associate Superintendent Catherine Gillach told the council.
It is designed to provide district leaders with “consistent longitudinal data regarding social pressure, adolescent behaviors and resilience factors surrounding the students we serve,” Gillach said.
The data collected is used to implement programs and interventions at district and building levels as well as in collaboration with community partners who provide both youth-focused programs and services, she said. declared.
Using the 2018 survey as a baseline, the data revealed that the percentage of students reporting having had one or more drinks in the past 30 days increased from 13.9 in 2018 to 9 in 2022, and the percentage of of students reporting having used marijuana one or more times in the past 30 days went from 8.7 to 5.9.
Other data showed an almost 50% drop in the percentage of students reporting smoking all or part of a cigarette, over a period of time, from 6.1% to 3.2%.
The survey also confirms that “parental influence is extremely strong” on whether or not a student chooses to use these products, Gillach said.
The resignation of Geoffrey Gaukler, a longtime GFPS employee who served as the school district’s mental health coordinator for several years, was approved by the board at Monday’s meeting.
Other board-approved resignations were submitted by Tawni Murphy, a special education teacher at South Middle School; Taylar Sundin, speech-language pathologist, Lewis and Clark Elementary School and District Special Education Program; and Amanda Weston Caillier, school counselor, Phoenix Elementary School.
All resignations are effective June 3.
In other actions, the School Board:
- Corrected an error in the salary of new Associate Principal of Red River High School, Jay Hepperle, which was approved at the April 11 board meeting. The corrected salary is $114,427, plus a school factor of $2,000, for the 2022-23 school year.
- Approved the appointments of Kendra Hart, as an Early Childhood Educator, at an annual salary of $42,977; Chloe McCarthy, 6th grade biology teacher at Valley Middle School, $42,977; Jacob Schauer, 6th grade teacher at Valley Middle School, $49,360; and Houston Wallace, professor of social studies at Valley Middle School, $47,765.
- Granted leave for the 2022-2023 school year to Lisa Berglun, second-grade teacher, and Emily Thompson, dyslexia intervention strategist, both at Ben Franklin Elementary School, and family care leave to Abigail Goldenstein , speech therapist at Phoenix Elementary School
- Voted to authorize Superintendent Brenner and School Board Chairman Eric Lunn to sign documents that cannot wait for new business manager Baumbach to take office May 9. This action is consistent with the advice of the district attorney, Brenner said in a note to the board.