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Fargo School Board votes to hire superintendent search firm

File photo: Fargo Public School Superintendent Jeff Schatz details plans during the first of three planned public feedback meetings on proposed changes in middle- and high school attendance boundaries for the Fargo School District Wednesday night, March 11, 2015, at Clara Barton Elementary. Dave Wallis / The Forum

FARGO - The Fargo School Board voted 8-1 to hire Ray and Associates, an Iowa-based firm that found the school district's last three superintendents, to conduct a search for a replacement for Superintendent Jeff Schatz, who recently gave notice that he will retire at the end of June.

The base price quoted for the search by Ray and Associates is $18,000, but board President Jim Johnson said that could be adjusted lower if the school district takes care of some of the search functions.

Board member David Paulson voted against the hire after he argued to have the search done by board members and district staff.

Still, Johnson cautioned board members, "this process is going to cost us over $20,000,easily," when expenses, advertising and travel costs are added to the total.

The school district spent about $27,000 in its last search, which ended with the job being offered to Schatz, who was principal of Fargo Davies High School at the time.

A candidate with a doctoral degree in educational leadership or a related field is preferred, as is prior experience as a superintendent, board members unanimously agreed.

The board also agreed that the "base salary will be in the range of $210,000," but that could be adjusted up or down depending on experience and qualifications.

Schatz is now paid, with his performance bonus, $210,000 a year, Johnson said.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including K-12 education, Fargo city government, criminal justice, and military affairs. He is currently one of The Forum's business reporters.

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