Bismarck Public Schools elections (2014)
Method of election
What was at stake?
Bismarck Public Schools
Burleigh County, North Dakota ballot measures
Local ballot measures, North Dakota
Three seats on the Bismarck School Board were up for general election on June 10, 2014. Incumbents Scott Halvorson and Matthew Sagsveen and challenger Karl Lembke defeated Karalee Harper, Michael A. Holly and Rissa Williams. Board member Steve Marquardt did not seek re-election because he ran for a seat on the Bismarck City Commission.
About the district
- See also: Bismarck Public Schools, North Dakota
Bismarck outperformed in comparison to the rest of North Dakota in terms of higher education achievement in 2010. The United States Census Bureau found that 33.5 percent of Bismarck residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 27.1 percent for North Dakota as a whole. The median household income in Bismarck was $53,186 compared to $51,641 for the state of North Dakota. The poverty rate in Bismarck was 9.7 percent compared to 12.1 percent for the entire state.
Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.
Method of board member selection
The Bismarck School Board consists of five members elected at-large to four-year terms. There was no primary election and the general election was held on June 10, 2014. The district works with Burleigh County to schedule the election during the statewide primary in even-numbered years. Two seats will be up for election in 2016.
Board candidates filed statements of intent as well as a statement of financial interests with the school board secretary by April 7, 2014. State law does not require board candidates to file campaign finance reports. Write-in candidates are not required by state law to register prior to the general election.
- Karl Lembke
- Graduate, University of Mary
- Development officer, State Historical Society of North Dakota
- Matthew Sagsveen
- Graduate, Concordia College and University of North Dakota
- Director, Natural Resources and Indian Affairs Department, North Dakota Attorney General's Office
- Rissa Williams
- Massage therapist
- Karalee Harper
- Graduate, University of Mary
- Director, Division of Chronic Disease, North Dakota Department of Health
- Michael A. Holly
- Graduate, SUNY-Albany and University of Colorado
- Senior National Guard trainer, U.S. Northern Command
- Veteran, North Dakota National Guard
- Scott Halvorson
- Retired teacher
|Bismarck Public Schools, At-Large General Election, 4-year term, 2014|
|Nonpartisan||Matthew Sagsveen Incumbent||21.1%||4,314|
|Nonpartisan||Scott Halvorson Incumbent||20.5%||4,182|
|Nonpartisan||Michael A. Holly||14.4%||2,937|
|Source: North Dakota Secretary of State, "Bismarck Public School Dist. 1 Election Results," June 25, 2014|
No candidates received an official endorsement in this election.
No candidate filed a campaign finance report with the district office. Candidates are not required by state law to file campaign finance reports.
Information about earlier elections can be found by clicking [show] at the right.
What was at stake?
Issues in the election
May 14 candidate forum
The Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce hosted a candidate forum on May 14, 2014 for all six of the school board candidates. Forum moderator Keven Strege asked for candidate views on district funding, curriculum standards and education issues. Scott Halvorson emphasized the need to balance new school construction with ongoing costs of maintaining and expanding district schools. Michael A. Holly discussed the need for strategic planning to keep the district budget in line with growing enrollment figures. Matthew Sagsveen also noted the district's need for smart budget planning especially as the state legislature changes aid formulas. Karalee Harper argued for district partnerships with local, state and national education agencies to improve education outcomes. Rissa Williams suggested that the school board has to become more diverse to reflect an increasingly diverse population in Bismarck. Karl Lembke stated that clear and consistent communication between the board and the public is important as the district continues to expand.
Issues in the district
Sex abuse case against former teacher
Former Wachter Middle School teacher Susan Duursma faces felony solicitation of minor charges in Burleigh County based on alleged actions between March and July 2013. Duursma is accused of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year old student. She was placed on unpaid leave in November 2013 and resigned from the district in February 2014. Duursma's attorneys seek to dismiss charges because a recording made by the student and his friends of an encounter was illegal without Duursma's permission. The defense has also asked the court to move the trial out of Burleigh County due to extensive media coverage of the story. A three-day trial was scheduled for May 2014.
The following dates were key deadlines for the Bismarck Public Schools election in 2014:
|April 7, 2014||Filing deadline for candidates|
|May 1, 2014||Earliest date for absentee ballot access|
|June 10, 2014||Election day|
|June 20, 2014||Certification of results by county auditor|
Additional elections on the ballot
The school board election shared the ballot with races for mayor, city commission and city park board. The ballot also included primary races for state legislative, U.S. House and U.S. Senate seats.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Bismarck + Public + Schools"
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- North Dakota
- Bismarck Public Schools, North Dakota
- North Dakota school board elections, 2014
- List of school board elections in 2014
- School board elections, 2014
- Burleigh County, North Dakota ballot measures
- Local ballot measures, North Dakota
- The Bismarck Tribune, "Sagsveen seeks reelection to school board," March 10, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Bismarck, North Dakota," accessed April 11, 2014
- National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed April 11, 2014
- Burleigh County Elections, "Elections," accessed April 11, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
- Bismarck Public Schools, "Board Member Method of Election," December 13, 1993
- North Dakota Secretary of State, "Running for School District Office," March 2014
- Bismarck Public Schools, "June 25, 2012 School Board Meeting," June 25, 2012
- Bismarck Tribune, "School board candidates appear at Chamber forum," May 14, 2014
- The Bismarck Tribune, "Prosecutors want Bismarck teacher sex case to go to trial," March 27, 2014
- North Dakota Secretary of State, "2014 North Dakota Election Calendar," March 2014
- City of Bismarck, "Bismarck City Election Activities - Certified Election Candidates," April 7, 2014
|2014 Bismarck Public Schools Elections|
|Bismarck, North Dakota|
|Election date:||June 10, 2014|
|Candidates:||At-large: • Karl Lembke • Matthew Sagsveen • Rissa Williams • Karalee Harper • Michael A. Holly • Scott Halvorson|
|Important information:||What was at stake? • Key deadlines • Additional elections on the ballot|