After multiple attempts to fill an open position on the Williams County Public School District No. 8 board failed on Monday, July 8, board members agreed to interview five applicants at a special meeting next week.

The seat on the board was left open when Deanna Senior resigned last month after she was accused of stealing nearly $30,000 from Missouri Ridge Township, where she had served as treasurer.

Senior was charged with a class B felony count of theft on May 31 and resigned from the District 8 school board on June 10.

Monday’s meeting was the first for two new board members — Myles Fischer and Kyle Renner. The two won seats in the school board election held June 11.

The pair, along with board Vice President Curt Sullivan and board President Penny Soiseth, failed to reach a majority when considering three different applicants for the position. In all, five people applied to fill the open seat.

One applicant, John Kasmer, got two votes, while the other two applicants the board voted on — Dawn Hollingsworth and Doug Stangeland — got one vote.

Sullivan supported Hollingsworth, who ran for a position on the board but was beaten out by Fischer and Renner. He said the fact she’d run for the position showed her commitment to serving the district, as did the fact she served on a committee that supported issuing a bond to build new schools.

Renner, however, supported Kasmer. He pointed out that Kasmer previously served on the Williston Public School District No. 1 board and has worked with Williston State College. Kasmer is a co-owner of Kasmer and Aafedt Oil Inc.

“I would say Mr. Kasmer is probably the most qualified,” Renner said.

After the members couldn’t agree on an applicant, they voted to hold a special meeting on July 15 to interview the five people who put their names in for the open seat. In addition to Hollingsworth, Kasmer and Stangeland, Salena Gustaveson and Cody Bennett applied.

The board is going to hold a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, to develop questions for the applicants. The interviews will happen at a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 15.

Other news:

During the first portion of Monday’s meeting, the board voted 4-0 to ask auditors Eide Bailly to draft a letter explaining the findings of a recent forensic audit.

After Senior was arrested and resigned from the board, members voted to have the auditing firm conduct a forensic audit of the district’s bank accounts. Business manager Sherri Heser told members on Monday that the audit found Senior had been the second signer on two checks between March 2018 and June 2019, but that was it.

Board members voted to ask for a letter explaining the findings to ensure the public’s confidence in the district’s financial position.

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