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Former wrestling star running for Iowa City school board
Jun. 15, 2011 8:00 pm
IOWA CITY – A two-time national champion wrestler at the University of Iowa will try to win a seat on the Iowa City school board.
Jeff McGinness, a 1993 City High School graduate who wrestled at the UI, said Wednesday he'll seek one of the four four-year terms open in the Sept. 13 election.
McGinness and his wife and children moved back to Iowa City from Chicago a few years ago, in part because of the schools here. He said he now wants to help the school system directly by being on the board.
“I want my children to have the same, or hopefully a better, opportunity and a better education system than I had,” he said.
McGinness, 36, lives at 4421 Tempe Pl. in Iowa City and is an attorney at the Simmons Perrine law firm in Cedar Rapids.
He wants the school board to be more proactive on issues through better strategic planning and also empower school administrators to act rather than “nitpicking their decisions.”
McGinness also said that while he doesn't doubt the growing district will eventually need a third comprehensive high school, he wants to fully explore all options for handling the enrollment disparities at overcrowded West High and under capacity City High.
The school board has said a new school will be built at an undetermined time when there is the enrollment and money to support one.
“In tied-up economic times, there needs to be not only a need, there needs to be a way to pay for it, and that's going to be the hardest thing,” McGinness said.
McGinness' entry into the race was not surprising. Last month he applied to fill the seat held by Mike Cooper, who's moving to Minnesota, from July through the election, and indicated he'd run in the September election.
The school board picked former board member Jan Leff for the interim role. Leff said she would not run in the election.
Several other people who applied for the position said they also were interested in running.
Five of the school board's seven seats will be up for election in September. Cooper's term has two years remaining. The other four are four-year terms for seats currently held by board President Patti Fields, Toni Cilek, Gayle Klouda and Michael Shaw.
The candidate filing period is July 11 to Aug. 4.
McGinness was an undefeated, four-time state champion wrestler in high school. He won NCAA titles in 1995 and 1998.