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Published October 29, 2013, 09:55 AM

Grand Forks School Board chooses critic for seat

Months after publicly criticizing Grand Forks School Board members, Doug Carpenter has now joined their ranks.

By: Jennifer Johnson, Grand Forks Herald

Months after publicly criticizing Grand Forks School Board members, Doug Carpenter has now joined their ranks.

On Monday, the School Board voted 6-2 in favor of appointing Carpenter, who was not present at the meeting, over John Knutson, Kevin Kuntz and Amy Zabinski. He will serve as a member until the next election, June 10.

His appointment comes a few months after the board faced public ire over a proposed 28.6-percent property tax increase. The board relented to public pressure from Carpenter and others and approved an increase of 21.6 percent.

Asked about the reasoning behind their decision, some school board members said they felt all of the candidates were strong. Board member Cynthia Shabb said she was not deterred by Carpenter’s past criticism.

“I think he’s respectful when he’s been critical,” she said. “Respect is key.”

She said she also voted for him because of his strong financial background. Carpenter works at Alerus Financial and has experience as a certified public accountant.

Carpenter, who will start his position on Nov. 12, replaces Kelly Hogness, who took a job in Indiana earlier this year.

Before the voting process began, candidates were offered a chance to speak before the board. Vice President Mike St. Onge read a statement on behalf of Carpenter, who was in Colorado visiting his new grandson.

Carpenter said he believes his educational background and public service experience would only help him become an effective board member.

“I’m also very familiar with the education world from a variety of perspectives,” he said, noting involvement by several of his family members.

Carpenter’s three children have received an excellent education from the district and he hopes this will continue for other children in the future, he said.

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