116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Paul Roesler is set to join the Iowa City school board after winning a special election Tuesday.
Roesler, the father of two daughters in the school district and the husband of a kindergarten teacher at Mark Twain Elementary, received 2,938 votes to defeat challengers JP Claussen and Janice Weiner. Claussen, who worked for 10 years as a teacher at West High, received 2,612 votes and Weiner, a district parent and former foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State, got 203, according to unofficial results from the Johnson County Auditor's Office.
Roesler said he thinks his close ties to the district can help him add a unique perspective to the board. He also said he's been heavily involved with the school board, attending almost every meeting over the past three years.
'I think one thing I bring is that I know a lot of teachers, Roesler said. 'They know that I'm involved and they are open to talk to me, not at my kids' school or my wife's school but across the district.'
Roesler's election could lead to renewed discussion about which students are to attend Liberty High, set to open in the fall of 2017. The school board in May voted 4-3 to assign students based on concerns over geography rather than equity, which would have increased the number of low-income students at Liberty High. The move overturned a May 2015 board decision to channel students from Kirkwood Elementary — where 69 percent are eligible for free or reduced lunches — to Liberty High rather than West High.
School district officials have suggested the results of Tuesday's vote might reignite the discussion.
Roesler has said he supports drawing boundaries for Liberty High based on equity over geography. Weiner also supported the equity option, while Claussen supported the geography option.
Tuesday's special election was triggered when Tom Yates resigned in May, just days after he voted for a geography option for Liberty High.
Roesler said he hopes to revisit the issue.
'I'm very concerned with the racial makeup of that school as well as the socioeconomic makeup of that school,' Roesler said.
Roesler is to be sworn in at the school board's next meeting on July 26. He'll fill out a term that expires in September 2019.
Election officials said 5,757 total votes — including write-ins — were counted, resulting in a voter turnout of 8.6 percent in a district with 66,669 registered voters.