Newcomers win majority of school board elections in Iowa
Iowa's school boards have received an infusion of new blood through the September 10 elections held in eight of the state's largest school districts. Newcomers won 15 of the 26 school board seats up for grabs, while incumbents managed to retain only 11 seats. School board neophytes won a majority of available seats in Council Bluffs, Davenport, Dubuque and Iowa City. In Sioux City, fresh faces won all three open seats. By comparison, incumbents held an edge only in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo. Des Moines voters presented a mixed picture, with the four seats split evenly between incumbents and challengers.
Spotlight: Des Moines Public Schools
Incumbent Connie Boesen and challenger Rob X. Barron, former aide to U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, won the two at-large seats in Des Moines. Despite receiving endorsements from both the Des Moines Education Association teachers union and the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, incumbent Joe Jongewaard narrowly lost his re-election bid alongside newcomers Shane Schulte and Heather Ryan. Pastor Toussaint Cheatom defeated fellow political novice Ed Linebach, III for the new District 2 seat, while at-large incumbent Teree Caldwell-Johnson overcame opponents Darlene Blake and Joel Doyle to win the new District 4 seat. Of the $30,893.27 contributed to school board candidates in Des Moines, an overwhelming $29,196.27 was raised by just four candidates in the at-large race.
This election marked the beginning of Des Moines' transition to a mixture of three at-large and four geographic district school board seats, which is replacing the current set of seven at-large seats. Unfortunately, this change in voting methodology did not reverse the district's recent history of voter turnout decline, despite early indications to the contrary. There were 14,021 votes cast, compared to 17,866 votes cast in 2011, 29,474 votes cast in 2009 and a sharp decline from the 47,537 votes cast in 2008.
The following results are unofficial vote totals from the Iowa school board elections:
- Mary Stegmeir, Des Moines Register, "Teachers union endorses candidates in Des Moines school board race," August 8, 2013
- Mary Stegmeir, Des Moines Register, "AFSCME endorses four candidates in Des Moines school board race," August 20, 2013
- IECDB Web Reporting System, "IECDB State/Local Campaign Disclosure Reports," accessed September 9, 2013
- Mary Stegmeir, Des Moines Register, "School election is Des Moines' first with districts," September 9, 2013
- Mary Stegmeir, Des Moines Register, "Turnout for Des Moines school board race continues to outpace 2011 numbers," September 10, 2013
- Polk County Auditor, "Election Query," accessed September 11, 2013
- KCRG.com 9, "Elections," accessed September 11, 2013
- Johnson County Auditor, "September 10, 2013 School Election Results," accessed September 11, 2013
- Council Bluffs Community School District, "School Board Election Results," accessed September 11, 2013
- Woodbury County Auditor, "2013 School Board Election," accessed September 11, 2013 (timed out)
- Scott County Auditor, "Election Summary Report," accessed September 11, 2013
- Andrew Wind, WCFCourier.com, "Old, new faces will grace Black Hawk County school boards," September 11, 2013
- Polk County Auditor, "School Board Election, Tuesday, September 10, 2013," accessed September 11, 2013
- The Telegraph Herald, "Beytien, Prochaska, Siegert elected to Dubuque school board," September 10, 2013