Cedar Rapids, Iowa City school board races take shape

Filing deadline for candidates is Thursday

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When the next Iowa City school board takes office after the Sept. 8 election, five of its seven members could be new.

In a race for five seats — four regular four-year terms and a two-year vacancy created by the resignation of Tuyet Baruah — nine non-incumbents have announced campaigns, including four on Tuesday alone.

None of the incumbents yet have filed paperwork to run for another term, board recording secretary Kim Colvin said Tuesday.

In Cedar Rapids, by contrast, three of the four incumbents up for re-election have filed to run again, said Jean McDonough, a secretary in the Cedar Rapids Community School District’s administrative office.

Incumbent Ann Rosenthal said Tuesday she plans to run again. Two non-incumbents also are running.

This election isn’t the first time the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City boards have taken on different dynamics. Nine candidates — including seven non-incumbents — ran for three seats on the Iowa City board in 2013, while only one of three Cedar Rapids board seats was contested. (The incumbent won.)

The varying experience at each board could present different advantages and challenges.

In Iowa City, remaining board members would have to provide robust orientation for new members, said board President Chris Lynch. Lynch and Vice President Brian Kirschling are the only two board members either not up for re-election or resigning this year.

“Sometimes it’s a value to know the history, and sometimes you can have the fresh perspective as well,” Lynch said.

Mary Meisterling, the Cedar Rapids school board president and four-term member, said anyone running for public office regardless of experience should put aside personal agendas and focus on serving students. She is running for another term this year.

“If you have those people running, it doesn’t matter if it’s continuity or it’s new,” she said.

Candidate Filings

Here is a list of candidates who so far have filed papers to run for the boards in several Corridor districts. The filing deadline is 5 p.m. Thursday. All information comes from districts’ board secretaries or other staff in their offices.

• Cedar Rapids Community School District (four seats): Todd Cohenour (at-large), Kristin Janssen (at-large), John Laverty (incumbent, at-large), Mary Meisterling (incumbent, District 1), Allen Witt (incumbent, District 4)

• Clear Creek Amana Community School District (five seats): Matt McAreavy (incumbent, at-large), Jennifer Mooney (District 1), Steve Swenka (incumbent, District 3)

• College Community School District (four seats): Randy Bauer (incumbent), Angela Ehle (incumbent), Greg Kelsey (incumbent), Dot Pospischil (incumbent)

• Iowa City Community School District (five seats): Phil Hemingway (four-year term), Jason T. Lewis (four-year term), Brianna Wills (four-year term), Tom Yates (four-year term)

• Linn-Mar Community School District (four seats): George Abouassaly, Tim Isenberg (incumbent)

• Marion Independent School District (four seats; filings as of July 16): David Law (incumbent), Dennis Trout (incumbent)

• Mount Vernon Community School District (five seats): Rick Elliott (two-year term), Jennifer Hoffman (four-year term), Virginia Roudabush (incumbent, four-year term), Kent Streicher (four-year term), Mark Weldon (incumbent, four-year term), Carol Woods-Boren (two-year term)

• Solon Community School District (two seats): Dan Coons (incumbent), Jim Hauer

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