UI finance professor to run for Iowa City school board

Brian Richman has 2 children in district, wants to increase transparency

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IOWA CITY — Brian Richman, a finance professor at the University of Iowa and the parent of two Hoover Elementary School students, will run for the Iowa City school board.

Richman, 49, said Tuesday that he hopes to increase transparency in the district by giving parents and teachers more time to understand and provide input on an issue before the board makes a decision.

“I think there have been a lot of decisions made in the last couple years where there just hasn’t been adequate community involvement or an adequate amount of discussion,” Richman said, pointing to the district changing school start times this spring.

That also was the case when the district in 2013 decided to close Hoover Elementary, Richman said. He said he supports keeping the school open, considering what he sees as a lack of information about district plans for the school.

Richman teaches at the UI Tippie College of Business and directs the Hawkinson Institute of Business Finance.

Richman said his experience in public finance also could help the district as it deals with uncertain state funding and prepares for a major bond referendum in 2017 to fund facilities’ projects. He said he helped lead more than $2 billion in financing for educational facilities while working in San Francisco.

“For a dozen years, that’s what I did for a living,” Richman said. “I helped school districts and cities and other governmental agencies raise capital.”

Others who’ve announced they’ll seek board seats are Jason T. Lewis, Brianna Wills, Phil Hemingway and former teachers union president Tom Yates.

Four board seats are up for election in September. Those seats are held by Patti Fields, Jeff McGinness, Marla Swesey and Orville Townsend. McGinness said in April he would not run for another term, and Townsend said he would not seek election when appointed to the board in 2014.

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