Lucas S. Van Orden IV — who is a lifelong Iowa City resident and a City High graduate and parent — announced on Friday that he is running for a four-year Iowa City school board term.
Van Orden said he thinks the years spent living in the city will be an advantage for him if he is elected as a school board member. He said he has seen the best, most efficient school boards when he was in school and when his oldest son entered the system.
“To know where you are, you've got to know where you've been,” Van Orden said. “I seem to recall and I believe [the school board] was less embroiled in, dare I phrase, pandering and politics than looking at long term goal seeking and planning.”
Van Orden is one of 13 candidates for five total seats on Iowa City's school board. No incumbents have entered the race before the deadline on Thursday night.
“If we need to agree to disagree, that's not a problem,” Van Orden said. “Nobody is standing up saying 'this is what I believe in.'”
The school district's infrastructure needs improvement, Van Orden said. He said sticking to the district's current Facilities Master Plan and its budget is the best way to make these improvements.
Van Orden said that financing and budgeting are a challenge because people often have good ideas to improve Iowa City schools but the board doesn't have the money to fund it. He said this is the case for developing programs that teach trade and technical skills to high school students.
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“Just because we'd like to have it doesn't mean we'll find a way to pay for it,” Van Orden said. “Let's not confuse support for something with the ability to finance it.”
Van Orden is a co-owner and practice manager of Creature Comfort Veterinary Center in Iowa City and is studying for is entrepeneruial MBA at Iowa. Van Orden has two sons currently enrolled in Iowa City schools and another that graduated from City High in 2012,