Lewis announces second run for Iowa City school board

Parent is former PTO president, committee member

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IOWA CITY — Three days after an Iowa City school board member said he will not run for re-election this year, a parent who ran for the board in 2013 has announced his second candidacy.

Jason T. Lewis, 43, said Monday he will run in the Sept. 8 election. Jeff McGinness, a current board member, said Friday he will not run for another term.

Lewis, of 1403 Hollywood Boulevard in Iowa City, is a past president of the Mark Twain Elementary parent-teacher organization. He said he will focus on unifying the district around common goals and creating socioeconomic balance in Iowa City schools.

“We’ve really struggled over the past couple of decades to achieve socioeconomic balance,” Lewis said.

Lewis suggested using magnet schools as one possible solution, calling for a five- to 10-year magnet schools plan that would pair with the district’s facilities master plan. He was a member of a magnet school task force created by the district last year.

The school board also should try to incorporate ideas from its former diversity policy into other board policies, Lewis said. The diversity policy, which sought to balance socioeconomic status among schools, was deemed non-compliant with federal law last November by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and rescinded by the board in January.

Lewis said he will try to run a frugal campaign and will give any leftover campaign money to the Iowa City school foundation. He wrote on his website in January that he intended to run.

The terms of four school board members — McGinness, Orville Townsend, Patti Fields and Marla Swesey — will expire this year. Townsend said he would not run in 2015 when he was appointed to the board last year.

Lewis finished seventh in a nine-way race for three board seats in 2013. He is married with children at Twain and South East Junior High. He also works as the director of the writing and humanities program at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

Candidates for Iowa City school board must file with the school district from July 6 to July 30, said Johnson County Auditor’s Office clerk John Deeth. Candidates must collect 50 signatures in support of their run, he said.

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