Category Archives: elections

School, Not Schools

In her guest opinion, “Bond is the solution Iowa City schools need,” Kelly Gallagher Terrill writes:

Passing the bond will allow us to drastically reduce our use of classroom trailers by adding capacity to our historic schools in older neighborhoods and by building new schools in our newer and rapidly growing neighborhoods.

The GO bond language, in fact, proposes to fund construction of only one new school–a new elementary school in North Liberty.

It Is Most Definitely Political. So What?

It’s already shaping up to be a long school election campaign season and I may spend it fruitlessly pushing back against nonsense, but I can’t let a few things in KCRG’s coverage of One Community – One Bond pass without comment:

“This isn’t a political issue. This is a public school issue. If you believe in education you believe in the bond,” Pilcher- Hayek said.

Totally weird, right? Because if it isn’t a political issue, why is she speaking on behalf of a political action committee?

Political action is how those of us who choose to be involved participate in the governance of our public schools. Maybe we pay attention and vote. Maybe we speak and/or write about issues. Maybe we attend meetings. Maybe we put up yard signs. Maybe we give money to candidate committees or political action committees. Some of us even run for office or organize political action committees. There is nothing weird or shameful about political activity. And I guess I’ll just keep repeating that as needed.

But there’s also the framing of the bond issue in Pilcher-Hayek’s comments and Kirschling’s comments:

School Board member Brian Kirschling says community support is necessary.

“It’s no secret in the last year, we’ve seen some changes in the national level, in the state level that don’t necessarily support public education, and this is our community’s chance to up or down a vote on education,” he said.

People have all kinds of reasons for voting (or not voting). Maybe the ballot issue for some people is a referendum broadly on (public) education or whether we care about kids or the district administration or the current (or previous) school board. But people can support public education and care about kids and still reject this particular bond proposal. And people can support this particular bond proposal without supporting the district administration or the current school board.

But, ultimately, after the votes are totaled on September 12th, all we will really know is whether or not the district will be authorized to issue GO bonds as specified in the approved bond language.

One-stop Shopping for the 2017 ICCSD School Election

Chris Liebig is still on the ICCSD school board, so I’ve agreed to host a one-stop shopping election post again this year. Candidate filing won’t begin until Monday, July 10th and won’t end until Thursday, August 3rd at 5 pm. However, with the ballot issue language set, and with information presentations about it and advocacy to pass it already underway, it makes sense to get this post up and running sooner rather than later.

I will be using this post as a collection point for information about the 2017 ICCSD regular school election scheduled for Tuesday, September 12th. I will continue to add information here as it becomes available. If you see that I have missed something, as surely I will, please suggest additional links in the comments, by e-mail, or by Twitter.

THE BASICS

Three four-year school board seats are up for election, as well as one two-year school board seat, to fill the remainder of Director LaTasha DeLoach’s unexpired term which became open with her resignation effective July 14th. There will also be a general obligation bond (GO bond) ballot issue, intended to fund the remaining projects on the district’s ten-year facilities master plan (FMP), which was last updated in January of this year. There is also an effort underway to petition for a ballot question related to demolition of the Hoover Elementary School building (see new section added below for more information).

CANDIDATES

Candidate Statements and Profiles

Candidates for the four-year seats

  • JP Claussen: News coverage here; Gazette profile, P-C profile
  • Shawn Eyestone: News coverage here; Gazette profile, P-C profile; To Bond or Not To Bond, That is the Question
  • Janet Godwin: News coverage here; Gazette profile, P-C profile
  • Ruthina Malone: News coverage here; Gazette profile, P-C profile
  • Laura Westemeyer: News coverage here; Gazette profile, P-C profile

Candidates for the two-year seat

  • Charlie Eastham: News coverage here and here; Gazette profile, P-C profile

Campaign Websites, Social Media, and Campaign Reports

Campaign reports filed with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board may include a short form attribution filing (DR-SFA) or a DR-1 Statement of Organization. Candidates who exceed $1,000 in donations, expenditures, or debt must file a DR-1 Statement of Organization (candidate’s committee) and a DR-2 Disclosure Summary Page, with attached reports, will be due five days prior to the election, and January 19, 2018. DR-2 attachments may include information about contributions (Schedule A), expenditures (Schedule B), debts (Schedule D), in-kind contributions (Schedule E), loans (Schedule F), or consultants (Schedule G).

Candidates for the four-year seats

Candidates for the two-year seat

  • Charlie Eastham:

Candidate Questionnaires

Debates and Candidate Forums

  • Political Party Live! Roundtable: One Community. One Bond, hosted by The Political Party, in partnership with Mission Iowa City; Thursday, July 27th from 6 pm to 8 pm at Mosley’s, 525 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City.
  • Community Rocks! Rally for the School Board Vote,  hosted by Kelly Garrett and Rachel Korach Howell and sponsored in part by Fourth Room Theatre; Saturday, August 5th from 5 pm to 9 pm at 901 Melrose Ave, Iowa City.

GO BOND BALLOT ISSUE

Shall the Board of Directors of the Iowa City Community School District in the County of Johnson, State of Iowa, be authorized to contract indebtedness and issue General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $191,525,000 to provide funds to address health, safety, and accessibility issues in all school buildings, including air conditioning all school buildings, reducing the use of  temporary classroom structures in the District, addressing classroom, lunchroom, and gymnasium overcrowding, and dedicating rooms to art, music, prekindergarten, and science by constructing, furnishing and equipping a new building, constructing additions to and/or remodeling, repairing, and improving the school buildings remaining in the District’s Facilities Master Plan, as follows:  Mann and Lincoln renovations, Liberty High athletic facilities construction and site improvements, new elementary school construction in North Liberty and site improvements, West High renovation, South East and North Central Junior High additions, Shimek renovation, City High addition and upgrades, Wood addition, Wickham upgrades, Garner and Northwest additions, Liberty High addition, Horn renovation, Kirkwood addition, Borlaug, Alexander, and Lemme additions, and Tate High addition and upgrades?

Committees

Ballot Issue PACs have different reporting deadlines than school board campaign committees. DR-2 Disclosure Summary Page, with attached reports, will be due May 19, July 19, five days prior to the election, October 19, and January 19, 2018. DR-2 attachments may include information about contributions (Schedule A), expenditures (Schedule B), debts (Schedule D), in-kind contributions (Schedule E), loans (Schedule F), or consultants (Schedule G).

Other Links

POTENTIAL HOOVER ELEMENTARY BALLOT QUESTION

Save Hoover Elementary is collecting signatures to petition to have the following language included on the ballot for the September 12th school election:

Shall the Iowa City Community School District in the County of Johnson, State of Iowa, demolish the building known as Hoover Elementary School, located at 2200 East Court Street in Iowa City, after the completion of the 2018-19 school year, with the proceeds of any resulting salvage to be applied as specified in Iowa Code section 297.22(b)?

Other Links

NEWS COVERAGE

Articles and posts substantively discussing the school board election. See Candidate Statements and Profiles for articles about individual candidates announcing campaigns, candidate profiles, and candidate statements.

COMMENTARY

ICCSD 2017 School Election Preview

The next regular school election will be held on Tuesday, September 12th. ICCSD expects to have three school board seats up for election, which are the ones currently held by Directors Brian Kirschling, Chris Liebig, and Chris Lynch. There will also be a general obligation bond (GO bond) measure on the ballot.

Candidates.

The candidate filing dates will be Monday, July 10th through Thursday, August 3rd.

At least two prospective candidates have already filed paperwork with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board: J.P. Claussen and Ruthina Malone. Added: Press-Citizen story with comments from Claussen and Malone.

Others considering whether to run may be interested in the Iowa Secretary of State’s Candidate’s Guide to the School Election and the following videos from the Iowa Association of School Boards:

Videos from 2015 ICCSD candidate forums can be found here.

Added: The Johnson County Auditor now has a September 12, 2017 School Election page with signature requirements, and important dates and links.

GO Bond.

Proposed language for the GO Bond was presented at the March 28th board work session. At the work session, it was noted that the reference to West High School there should have been a reference to Tate High School, which I have shown corrected below [updated, per Director Roesler].

Shall the Board of Directors of the Iowa City Community School District in the County of Johnson, State of Iowa, be authorized to contract indebtedness and issue General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $191,525,000 to provide funds to construct, build, furnish, and equip a new elementary building and improve the site; to construct, improve, furnish and equip athletic facilities at Liberty High School; and to construct additions to and/or remodel, repair, improve, furnish and equip the following school buildings: Alexander, Borlaug, Garner, Horn, Kirkwood, Lemme, Lincoln, Mann, Shimek, Wickham and Wood Elementary buildings, North Central, Northwest, and South East Junior High buildings, and City, Liberty, Tate, and West High School buildings?

Information about the GO Bond and the district facilities master plan can be found on the district website here.

One Community – One Bond, a local ballot issue committee formed to advocate for the passage of the GO bond, has filed with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.

Updated: One Community – One Bond has a Facebook page, including a list of initial supporters (click “see more under” Story if you don’t see the list). [Updated: One Community-One Bond has removed the list of initial supporters from their about page.] One Community – One Bond has a placeholder website (no content yet) at http://passthebond.com/ and is on Twitter as @passthebond.

Dissent Doesn’t Ruin Everything

Earlier this week, the ICCSD school board approved moving ahead with putting an approximately $190 million bond in front of voters, likely in September. (See coverage at the Press-Citizen and The Gazette.)

Concerns have been expressed about a lack of a unanimous board vote, suggesting that the bond has already been undermined by the two dissenting board directors. It hasn’t.

This bond is going to succeed or fail based on the ability of its proponents to persuade at least 60% of the voters to pass the bond.

It is nice to think that Directors Hemingway and Liebig could have erased community concerns–and guaranteed passage of the bond–simply by changing their votes. But it doesn’t work that way.* Giving voice to dissenting opinions and concerns doesn’t create dissension and concerns within the community, but it is essential for ensuring vigorous public debate in matters of interest to the public.

The school board vote earlier this week wasn’t the end of debate on the bond and the Facilities Master Plan. That debate will continue through election day and beyond, as the school board continues to make decisions about altering and carrying out the FMP.

The fact that some people (continue to hold and) express opinions contrary to our own is super annoying. But expressions of dissent have also been an ongoing invitation for proponents of the FMP/bond to work for a defensible FMP process, a defensible FMP, a defensible bond proposal, and to make the case for why voters should support it all with a vote in favor of the bond. We’ll see how effectively it was all done on election night.

*It doesn’t work that way unless Directors Hemingway and Liebig are the only members of the community with concerns. In which case, don’t worry! They each only have one vote to cast in the bond election and can’t, alone, cause the bond to fail.

One-stop Shopping for the 2016 ICCSD School Board Special Election

THE BASICS

Tom Yates created a vacancy on the ICCSD School Board when he resigned on Friday, May 13, 2016. The District has posted notice of the vacancy and a vacancy timeline, which includes important dates for filling the vacancy by appointment or special election.

[Appointment process information moved to the end of the post.]

UPDATE: The vacancy will be filled by special election to be held Tuesday, July 19th.

Due to the short time frame for a special election, I am setting up this post to use as a collection point for information about the possible July 2016 school board special election. I will continue to add information here as it becomes available. If you see that I have missed something, as surely I will, please suggest additional links in the comments or by Twitter.

ELECTION RESULTS

Follow @jcauditor on Twitter for updates throughout election day. Turnout by precinct will be posted here for turnout through 9 am, 11 am, 3 pm, and 6 pm. Results will be posted here starting after polls close at 8 pm on election day, as returns are become available. Preliminary results in spreadsheet form are here.

  • As of the end of early voting–Monday, July 18th–the Johnson County Auditor reports 1,457 ballots requested, 1,391 returned. If you still have yours, return it to the Auditor’s Office tomorrow; it’s too late to get it postmarked. There were 737 absentee ballots cast in the September 8, 2015 regular school board election, with a total of 7,297 voters (10.5% voter turnout).
  • 9 am voter turnout, at 389, down approximately 250 from ICCSD regular school board election in September 2015. [0.58% of registered voters have voted so far this morning.]
  • 11 am voter turnout, at 935, down approximately 350 from ICCSD regular school board election in September 2015. [1.40% of registered voters have voted so far this morning.]
  • 3 pm voter turnout, at 1999, down approximately 900 from ICCSD regular school board election in September 2015. [3 % of registered voters have voted so far today. IC08 (Helen Lemme) has a 7.26 % voter turnout so far today, with other precincts turnout between 1.48 % at IC06 (Mark Twain) to 4.08 % at IC09 (Hills).]
  • 6 pm voter turnout, at 3318, down approximately 1700 votes from the ICCSD regular school board election in September 2015. [4.98 % of registered voters have voted so far today.]

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: Paul Roesler is the new school board member. 8.64% of registered voters turned out to cast votes in this election, falling short of the 10.5% turnout in the regular school board election in September 2015. Claussen picked up two additional votes when the Absentee Board considered provisional ballots on Thursday. These votes are reflected in updated numbers below (numbers that changed since Tuesday in red):

Results2016 updated

 

Results will be official with the canvass on Tuesday, July 26th. John Deeth crunches the numbers here.

Continue reading

One-stop Shopping for the 2015 ICCSD School Board Election

Chris Liebig won’t be doing his usual one-stop shopping school board election post at A Blog About School this year, so I’m stepping in and putting one together here.

I will be using this post as a collection point for information about the 2015 ICCSD school board election scheduled for September 8th. I will continue to add information here as it becomes available. If you see that I have missed something, as surely I will, please suggest additional links in the comments, by e-mail, or by Twitter.

THROWBACK THURSDAY

It’s the Thursday before election day, so just for fun, here are a few posts from this blog written during the run up to the 2013 school elections.

ELECTION RESULTS

The Johnson County Auditor’s Office has posted a guide to election returns. Follow @jcauditor on Twitter for updates throughout election day. Turnout by precinct will be posted here and updated several times throughout election day. Results will be posted here starting after polls close at 8 pm on election day, as returns are become available (refresh the page periodically to follow as results are added).

The Johnson County Auditor’s Office is also live-blogging election day here.

  • 9 am voter turnout down approximately 200 from ICCSD 2013 school board election. [0.92% of registered voters have voted this morning.]
  • 11 am voter turnout down approximately 350 from ICCSD 2013 school board election. [1.88% of registered voters have voted this morning.]
  • 3 pm voter turnout down approximately 500 from ICCSD 2013 school board election. [4.14% of registered voters have voted so far today.]
  • 6 pm voter turnout down approximately 600 from ICCSD 2013 school board election. [7.23% of registered voters have voted so far today and turnout has now surpassed the 5.96% voter turnout at the ICCSD 2011 school board election.]

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS: New school board members are DeLoach, Hemingway, Yates, Roetlin, and Liebig. 10.5% of registered voters turned out to cast votes in this election, falling short of the 11.86% turnout at the 2013 school board election, for the second highest turnout ever. Winning candidates for four-year terms needed at least 3063 votes, the two-year seat was won with 2669 votes.

The votes have been canvassed and the results are now official, with DeLoach’s record setting vote total now standing at 4316.

THE BASICS

Ten Eight candidates are competing for four open four-year seats; no incumbents are running for re-election. In a separate race, three candidates are competing for one two-year seat, which became vacant upon Tuyet Baruah’s submission of her resignation last week.

Sample ballots are now available here.  Ballots may vary within ICCSD depending upon which Kirkwood director district you reside in. Be sure to also confirm your school polling place here.

The voter pre-registration deadline is Friday, August 28th at 5 pm. Voters will need to use the election day registration procedure to register to vote after this deadline.

Your school polling place is likely to be different than your regular polling place. Find your school polling place here. Please note that a few ICCSD school precincts have new locations for 2015. Polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm on Tuesday, September 8th.

Early voting begins Thursday, August 13th will commence as soon as ballots can be prepared after August 4th (deadline for candidates to withdraw).  Mailed absentee ballots can be requested at any time from now until Friday, September 4th at 5 pm. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Saturday, September 5th (remember that Monday, September 7th is Labor Day), but can be returned in person to the Johnson County Auditor’s Office until polls close on election day, Tuesday, September 8th, at 8 pm. Once early voting begins, you can also vote early in person, on weekdays between 7:45 am and 5:30 pm, at the Johnson County Auditor’s Office, 913 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City. Due to Labor Day, the last day to vote in person at the Auditor’s Office will be Friday, September 4th.

The Johnson County Auditor’s Office will have a satellite site for school election voting at UIHC, Fountain Lobby, on Thursday, September 3rd from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

QUESTIONNAIRES

  • Save Hoover question and candidate responses herehere and here or all three compiled into a single post here
  • North Corridor Parents candidate interviews here, Tom Yates (inadvertently omitted) here
  • Iowa City Education Association questionnaire and candidate responses here
  • Coalition for Racial Justice questionnaire and candidate responses here
  • Field to Family, Backyard Abundance, and Ecopolis questionnaire and candidate responses here

DEBATES AND CANDIDATE FORUMS

  • Hani Elkadi, producer and host of Education Exchange, will be interviewing candidates Wednesday, August 19th at PATV studios. Live streaming will be available at the PATV website or the Board of Education 2015 Candidates Facebook page. The taped programs will air at various times on Education Channel 21 and PATV Channel 18 and be posted on YouTube and the PATV website.
    • 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm with panelists Todd Fanning, Jason Lewis, Brian Richman, Lori Roetlin, and Brianna Wills

  • 5:15 pm to 6:15 pm with panelists LaTasha DeLoach, Shawn Eyestone, Phil Hemingway, Lucas Van Orden, and Tom Yates

  • 6:30 pm to 7:00 pm with panelists Chris Liebig, Paul Roesler, and Megan Schwalm

  • DPO sponsored Candidate Meet and Greet; Saturday, August 22nd, 10:00 am to noon at the ESC, 1725 N. Dodge Street
  • North Liberty Building Community Group sponsored Candidate Meet and Greet; Saturday, August 29th, 10:00 am to noon at the North Liberty Community Center, 520 W. Cherry Street, Gerdin Conference Center Room 2 (lower level)
  • Iowa City Education Association/Press-Citizen ICCSD Board Candidate Forum; Monday, August 31st, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at the Coralville Public Library, Schwab Auditorium
  • ICCSD Board Candidate Forum: Beyond iPads and IPM: Sustainability and STEM in our schools; Tuesday, September 1st, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the Coralville Public Library, Schwab Auditorium [Added: This is a discussion forum hosted by Ecopolis, Backyard Abundance, and Field to Family. School board candidates will be asked to comment on information shared.] Find a recording of the forum here or watch below:

  • Special Education Forum; Thursday, September 3rd, 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A. Find a recording of the forum here.
  • KXIC School Board Candidate Interviews: scheduled for different dates and times between Tuesday, August 18th and Thursday, September 3rd. Find podcasts of the interviews here.

COMMENTARY 

[Note: Edited 8/26 to move candidate guest opinions and profiles to Candidate Statements and Profiles section below.]

NEWS COVERAGE

Articles and posts substantively discussing the school board elections. See Candidate Statements and Profiles for articles about individual candidates announcing campaigns, candidate profiles, and candidate statements.

CANDIDATE STATEMENTS AND PROFILES

Candidates for the four-year seats

Candidates for the two-year seat

CANDIDATE CONTACT INFORMATION

Contact information for all thirteen candidates is now available at the JC Auditor’s website here.

CAMPAIGN WEBSITES

[Note: Edited 9/3 to add links to campaign reports filed with the Iowa Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board as it takes some navigating to locate the school board reports on the website (DR-1 Statement of Organization (candidate’s committee) and DR-2 Disclosure Summary Page (donors and expenditures–must be filed if exceed $1,000)). School board reports are due by 4:30 pm today. Due to interest in PACs, I’ve added the Save Hoover Committee in this section under “other PACs”.]

Candidates for the four-year seats

Candidates for the two-year seat

Other PACs

RELATED LINKS

ICCSD Facilities Master Planning

2013 regular school election: Winning candidates received at least 3,041 votes; 11.86% voter turnout.

2011 regular school election: Winning candidates (four-year seats) received at least 1,910 votes, winning candidate (two-year seat) received 3,165 votes; 5.96% voter turnout.

2013 special election: Revenue Purpose Statement passed with 56% of the votes (3,405 yes votes); 8.09% voter turnout.

Nicholas Johnson: Board Governance: Theory and Practice

City High: 6 Year Preview (9/3)