116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
On the final day in which filing is open, Lawrence Wenclawski joined the Cedar Rapids Community School District's school board race.
On Thursday morning the Cedar Rapids resident, who said he has never run for public office, became the first nonincumbent to submit his candidacy paperwork for the Tuesday, Sept. 10 election. He will face Keith Westercamp, who is seeking his sixth term on the board.
“I just don't believe there will be much change with the same people on the school board,” Wenclawski said of his decision to enter the race. “Since the flood it has been very difficult for the school district and the community. I believe the next four years are going to be more critical than the last five years. It can't go the same way.”
Wenclawski is the father of two daughters, one of whom graduated from Kennedy High School in 2012 and the other who will begin eighth grade at Franklin Middle School this fall, and moved to Cedar Rapids 10 years ago.
As of now he is not working professionally though he does have a background in engineering and software development. He said those skills will serve the board well, should he be elected, because he “will do a great job thinking outside the box,” something he said was missing from the board's slate of directors.
The school district is facing many pressing issues right now, in Wenclawski's view, and while the candidate declined to name one as most important he did mention the district's finances.
“Something needs to be done to control them and come up with longer term plans,” he said.
Wenclawski's run is fueled in part by a desire to boost transparency and improve communication between the board, district and the community. He called “the level of distrust and dislike the community has for the school board” among the largest problems within the district.
As a remedy, he'd like to see email exchanges between administrators and area residents posted on a blog, improvements to the district's website and the opportunity to assign people to represent buildings and provide feedback and updates on those schools at board meetings.
“One thing is we have to educate the community on what a school board does, (its) role and also the superintendent's role, so that they understand it,” he said.
Nancy Humbles and
Gary Anhalt are running unopposed to defend their District 2 and at-large seats in the upcoming election. The deadline for candidates to withdraw from the race is Tuesday, Aug. 6.