Iowa school board elections focus on overcoming challenges

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September 6, 2013


By Daniel Anderson

On September 10, eight of the largest school districts in Iowa will hold school board elections for a total of 26 seats. These districts are Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City, Sioux City and Waterloo. Four school board seats are up for election in both Des Moines and Sioux City, while three seats are open in each of the other six districts. With only days left before the election, school board candidates across the state are criticizing incumbents for the slew of challenges confronting Iowa school districts.

In response to budgetary problems, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City school boards have both voted to shut down at least one elementary school in their respective districts.[1][2] Cedar Rapids, along with Davenport, has also struggled with declining enrollment in recent years.[3][4] Due to their failure to meet standardized testing benchmarks enacted by the federal No Child Left Behind law, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines and Waterloo are all classified as "Districts in Need of Assistance."[5]

Spotlight: Des Moines Public Schools

The school district with the most students in Iowa, Des Moines, has also experienced the most controversy since last year. In 2012, Superintendent Nancy Sebring resigned after a closed meeting of the district school board which was intended "to evaluate the professional competency of an individual whose appointment, hiring, performance or discharge is being considered when necessary to prevent needless and irreparable injury to that individual’s reputation."[6] Shortly after Sebring's resignation, the Des Moines Register alleged that she had "inappropriately used the district’s technology to send and receive sexually explicit messages."[7] On June 27, Sebring sued several district officials on the basis that they had "either individually or working in concert, wrongfully undertook steps to ensure the purely personal and private emails would come to the attention of the Des Moines Register and to the public."[8] The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, on behalf of former board member Graham Gillette, has filed a separate lawsuit against the board to force the district to release the recording of the board's closed session to the public.[6]


Cedar Rapids
UncheckedBox.jpg Gary Anhalt

District 2
UncheckedBox.jpg Nancy Humbles

District 3
UncheckedBox.jpg Keith Westercamp
UncheckedBox.jpg Lawrence Wenclawski

Iowa City
UncheckedBox.jpg Sara Barron
UncheckedBox.jpg Karla Cook
UncheckedBox.jpg Tuyet Dorau
UncheckedBox.jpg Phil Hemingway
UncheckedBox.jpg Brian Kirschling
UncheckedBox.jpg Jason T. Lewis
UncheckedBox.jpg Chris Lynch
UncheckedBox.jpg Jim Tate

Council Bluffs
At-large (2-year term)
UncheckedBox.jpg J.J. Harvey

UncheckedBox.jpg Ariel Bloom
UncheckedBox.jpg Jill Ogg-Gress
UncheckedBox.jpg Scott Hansen
UncheckedBox.jpg Chris Merk
UncheckedBox.jpg Susan Riley
UncheckedBox.jpg Ed Shada
UncheckedBox.jpg Mike Wallner

Sioux City
UncheckedBox.jpg Shaun Broyhill
UncheckedBox.jpg Jaqueline Ritter
UncheckedBox.jpg Audie Baughman
UncheckedBox.jpg Paul Gorski
UncheckedBox.jpg Perla Alarcon-Flory
UncheckedBox.jpg Paul Speidel

UncheckedBox.jpg Richard Clewell
UncheckedBox.jpg Patt Zamora
UncheckedBox.jpg Maria Dickmann
UncheckedBox.jpg Elaine Kresse
UncheckedBox.jpg Jamie Snyder

UncheckedBox.jpg Shanlee McNally

District 1
UncheckedBox.jpg Mike Kindschi

District 4
UncheckedBox.jpg Angela Weekley

Des Moines
UncheckedBox.jpg Connie Boesen
UncheckedBox.jpg Joe Jongewaard
UncheckedBox.jpg Rob X. Barron
UncheckedBox.jpg Heather Ryan
UncheckedBox.jpg Shane Schulte

District 2
UncheckedBox.jpg Toussaint Cheatom
UncheckedBox.jpg Ed Linebach, III

District 4
UncheckedBox.jpg Teree Caldwell-Johnson
UncheckedBox.jpg Darlene Blake
UncheckedBox.jpg Joel Doyle

UncheckedBox.jpg Craig Beytien
UncheckedBox.jpg Jim Prochaska
UncheckedBox.jpg George Davis
UncheckedBox.jpg Terra Siegert

See also