(Fargo, ND) -- In the midst of controversy, one Fargo School Board candidate is rising above recent comments made about her to a continued focus on students, staff and the district's budgetary issues.
Microsoft Support Engineer Manager Allie Ollenburger says her hope is to emphasize quality education if elected this June.
"How are we ensuring smaller classroom sizes? How are we ensuring that we have the correct support resources pairs etc. in the classroom helping with the actual education and less of the administrative overhead that we seem to have at the district office level here in Fargo," said Ollenburger, who spoke with WDAY Midday about her platform for school board.
Ollenburger says the future can and should be bright for students in Fargo Public Schools, but change needs to occur if that is going to happen.
"I want to ensure that we have a proper system in place that supports and functions and for our kids in their future," said Ollenburger. "I was told by a mentor one time that any well oiled machine only works well because each part knows what it's supposed to be doing."
The military veteran and mother of two students currently enrolled in Fargo Schools also says she is prioritizing removing excessive burdens off teachers in the district. Ollenburger says teachers, who have held the district up the last number of years during the COVID-19 pandemic, are over-worked, under-paid and being spread to thin to handle their own daily responsibilities. She says tackling the budget within the district to re-direct some funding to help with not only wages, but also mental health needs of teachers and students would be crucial moving forward to help retain and attract educators, and more students, into Fargo Public Schools.
As for comments made recently in local media labeling her an 'extremist', Ollenburger says she's looking past the title, and is urging others to focus on education, not accusations.
"You’re entitled to your opinion, however, we are there for the purpose of ensuring quality education in Fargo public schools that is our goal that is our guiding principle and that’s how all decisions should be made," said Ollenburger when asked about the label being associated with her recently.
She adds that name avoiding name-calling and keeping decorum are important factors when it comes to getting things done during board meetings for the betterment of the district, and believes she can handle disagreements with integrity and respect while working towards the 'common goal' all should share in the role of Fargo School Board member in looking out for the best interest of students, teachers, staff and parents.
To learn more about Allie's campaign, or to find all your June 2022 election information, click here.