New FD school board convenes

The Fort Dodge Community School District board held its last meeting Monday before swearing in new members for a new term.

After concluding its normal business, Board President Stuart Cochrane presented retiring board member Jan Merz with a school bell, honoring her 23 years of service to the FDCSD.

“It has been a remarkable pleasure to have served with you,” Cochrane said. “I don’t know of anyone, anywhere, who can say they have performed as much public service with the dedication you have.”

Cochrane lauded Merz for being an outspoken voice on the board.

“Everybody always knew what you spoke, you spoke from the heart and you spoke with a great deal of passion,” he said. “The kids and the families, and all those people that over the last 27 years have had benefit of going to school here, are better for you having served on the board. I have nothing but the utmost appreciation for you, and I know the rest of the board shares that as well.”

The board stood and applauded Merz as she was presented with the bell before her visiting family members. Merz had kind words for the board members.

“You know the direction we’re headed, and you know what you have to do,” she said.

The board adjourned and Robert Hughes, FDCSD assistant superintendent, called to order a new meeting.

Hughes declared that following an election Sept. 10 three board members were elected to four-year terms on the board. Lisa Shimkat received 1,079 votes, Cochrane received 888 votes and Brian Forsythe received 814 votes to win the seats.

Each newly elected board member was given a framed certificate and sworn in to office. Shimkat began her first term on the board.

Nominations were taken for school board president. Board member Matt Wagner nominated previous board President Stuart Cochrane, and was seconded by board member Kevin Rogers. Cochrane was sworn in, and took over the meeting.

After, nominations were taken for school board vice president. Wagner nominated previous board Vice President Brian Forsythe, seconded by Rogers. Forsythe was sworn in.

The board approved continuing to hold its regular meetings on the second and fourth Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at the FDCSD Central Administration Office, 104 S. 17th St.

Board member Deb Peterson suggested changing the meetings to a time that did not conflict with Fort Dodge City Council meetings, held at the same times. Board member Bill Kent argued it would not make a difference in attendance.

“The numbers aren’t really there to incentivize us to make a change,” he said.

Doug Van Zyl, FDCSD superintendent, concluded the meeting by congratulating the newly elected board members.

“It’s a great opportunity for you,” he said, “to be liaisons to our community.”