Fargo Public Schools superintendent speaks on Monday's school start date, teacher shortages, and the district's LGBTQ policy

Courtesy: Fargo Public Schools
Courtesy: Fargo Public Schools

(Fargo, ND) -- Fargo Public Schools Superintendent is sharing updates to the district prior to the start of the school year on August 28th. 

Fargo Superintendent Dr. Rupak Gandhi says the district is ready to begin classes on Monday, with an estimated 11,385 students as of August 22nd, the most recent counting of enrolled students as of this publication. This is despite a shortage in most career and teaching roles in the district. Dr. Gandhi says this trend isn't unique to Fargo Public Schools.

"In the state of North Dakota, there's more open positions than we even have available workers across the board. If I pull up our job board in Fargo Public Schools, it does say there are 20 [open positions for] licensed educators and specialists... there is a couple components where that number might not be accurate."

Dr. Gandhi says this does not include candidates who are currently being interviewed for the open positions or are currently being hired, and does not consider inside changes the district makes when it comes to adjusting class sizes to lessen the initial needs for educators. When asked if Fargo Public Schools is taking advantage of an emergency request that allows local university student educators into classrooms in lieu of teachers, Dr. Gandhi says he is not aware of any student educator that is currently in any classroom in the district.

Dr. Gandhi also commented on the districts decision to follow federal law instead of state law that impacts LGBTQ students. In a written statement to WDAY Radio, a district spokesperson said N.D.C.C. § 15.1-06-21requires educators and school districts to treat transgender students differently based solely on their gender identity, which they say is a direct conflict to federal law. Dr. Gandhi reiterated his promise to follow federal guidance instead the state law. 

"We determined that there are some components of the state law that was passed that conflict with federal law, even the guidance we get from the Department of Education at a federal level. We are going to follow federal law when we see that conflict and that is going to be our position and practice as  Fargo Public Schools."


Original Air Date: 
Saturday, August 26, 2023