Here's what this campaign is about:
Ensuring equal opportunities in curriculum and programming for all students
Providing our students and faculty with safe, healthy, technology-driven learning environments
Committing to our neighborhood schools
Guaranteeing responsible stewardship of public funds
Celebrating the diversity within our district
Engaging parents to become active participants in the schools
Making data-driven decisions with measurable results
Saturday, September 9, 2017
The difficult thing is to advocate strongly for something you believe in and then find that you have been unable to sway the group's opinion once the vote is taken. I have been on the short end of some decisions over the past four years and, while it stings a bit, it is important to recognize that the time for dissent or debate is over and the Board needs to collectively move on. I am disheartened to find by the opinion pieces in this morning's Press-Citizen that two of my board colleagues still don't "get it" and believe their opinion is greater than the collective will of the Board.
Earlier this year, over multiple board work sessions, between January and April, two major decisions were made. The first, was a hammering out of the exact language to be placed on the ballot for voters to consider this coming Tuesday. Each board member had the opportunity at multiple open work sessions to make suggestions regarding what projects should be listed in the ballot language. The addition of wording that includes classrooms for pre-kindergarten, art, music, and science all came from healthy Board discussion throughout those work sessions. All of those commitments, as well as a comprehensive list of all 20 projects are listed in the ballot language. I am dismayed that the one board member who sat mostly silent through those multiple work sessions is now upset that specific wording regarding career and technical education is not in the ballot language. The time to suggest that wording was before the language was finalized, not months later once the ballots were printed.
The second was the decision to ask voters for permission to issue General Obligation Bonds necessary to fund the full amount of the remaining 20 projects on the ICCSD's 10 year Facility Master Plan. At the January 10th work session HERE, Director Lynch proposed a plan to Bond for a lesser amount to fund the next few years of the Facility Master Plan. I was supportive of this at the time, but before deciding what to do, the Board went to the community on January 12th, 17th, and 19th at three different locations across the district to gather community input. The overwhelming response was to "finish the plan" and bond for the full amount of $191.5 M. Here is the summary of those listening posts. The community input was enough to sway both President Lynch, myself, and other board members, so we decided to go for the full amount rather than multiple smaller bonds and get the plan done right...the first time. At the Board meeting on April 25 HERE , the Board voted 5-2 to Bond for the full $191.5 Million. I find it interesting that the two members who were in the minority have spent their summer and are now on the Opinion page of the Press-Citizen advocating against the collective decision of the Board in direct violation of Board policies and the Code of Conduct for Board Members found HERE
Our community deserves better and our students deserve better. We need board members who understand both their role and the value of collective group decisions. I hope you will join me this Tuesday in voting for the candidates vetted, interviewed, and endorsed by the Press-Citizen, the Gazette, and the Iowa City Education Association. I also urge you to vote YES in order to both tie the next board to completing the Facility Master Plan and to assist them in moving the conversation about our schools away from the bricks and mortar and toward what happens in the classroom. Our kids deserve our support and the support of a functional Board. Now go vote.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
The term swift-boating originated after John Kerry's bid for the white house fell short in 2004. The Political Action Committee called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth attacked Senator Kerry by smearing him publicly and raising question about his service in Vietnam. This political tactic is frequently utilized by candidates and campaigns who know that they can not compete on job qualifications or the issues and it is shameful.
I am sorry to see a number of local elected party leaders engaging in the same despicable type of behavior targeting Paul Roesler, one of the three candidates for the special election to fill the board seat vacated by the resignation of Tom Yates in May. You know who you are so I won't name names because I will likely have to interact with you in the future. I will gladly point out though, that rather than ask the Board leadership or the Superintendent what it might take to restore confidence and effectiveness to the board team, you have chosen to play party politics with the academic wellbeing of our students and you should be ashamed of yourselves. You clearly don't understand what's at stake here and I'm sorry you didn't think to pick up the phone and give a friendly call to discuss the issues in order to gain a broader understanding before swift-boating Paul.
Service on the school board is a non-partisan elected volunteer position and anyone wishing to seek the office deserves to have the right to be judged on the merit of their understanding of the issues and their ideas as to how to solve them. They do not deserve to be smeared and viciously attacked in the way that Mr Roesler has been.
As for my colleagues who serve on the board with me, well that's a different matter entirely. It's not unusual to find oneself in agreement on various issues with certain candidates, but it is considered very poor form to inject oneself as a sitting board member into the campaign of an individual running for board. I have been made aware of the fact that at least two of my colleagues have directly been involved with one campaign by helping distribute stacks of yard signs, place phone calls, and write emails on behalf of a candidate.
I would also like to add one more endorsement of Paul from Michael Tilley, who I sometimes agree with and sometimes don't, but I always enjoy the logic he brings to the discussion. Read it HEREFriends,
There is a very important election this coming Tuesday. As you may know, there is a vacant seat on the Iowa City School Board of Directors as a result of Tom Yates' sudden resignation on May 13. There are three people running for that vacant seat. All are fine candidates and we should be grateful to all of them being willing to put themselves out there. One candidate, however, stands out as having a firm grasp of the issues and would be ready to hit the ground running on day one.Paul Roesler has attended nearly every board and committee meeting over the past three years and truly understands not only the larger issues, but the delicate intricacies underlying them. Additionally, he clearly understands the time commitment involved, which is significant.His campaign platform is focused on passing the GO Bond next year in order to deliver the 10-year Facility Master Plan and recommit our community to the next century of public education and equitable facilities for all students. Additionally, he understands the District Strategic Goals of increasing Reading and Math Proficiency while decreasing the achievement gap that currently exists for our most vulnerable students.Paul believes in embracing cultural and socioeconomic diversity in our classrooms in order to prepare our students for life beyond our school hallways. He understands that curricular and extra-curricular equity is critical to the student experience and delivering high achievement. Perhaps most importantly, Paul is an excellent listener who takes the time to make informed decisions and then respects the product of the Board decision-making process, which is critical to moving our school district forward.Finally, Paul is a lifelong resident of our community and, being married to a teacher, has a keen understanding of the needs of educators and has committed himself to valuing teacher and community input over his own personal beliefs.Please read more about Paul here: www.roeslerforboard.comDon't just take my word for it....read some notable endorsements for Paul here:Mary Kate Hayek: http://www.thegazette.
com/subject/opinion/guest- columnists/balance-schools- minimize-barriers-to- education-20160710Adam Ingersoll: http://www. thegazette.com/subject/ opinion/guest-columnists/ diversity-in-school-helps- kids-thrive-20160710Mayor Jim Throgmorton: https:// persuasivestorytelling. wordpress.com/2016/07/11/vote- for-equity-within-the-school- district/Eric Johnson: http://icp-c.com/29CSWCfCindy Abrams: http://icp-c.com/29CKbhgWrite ups detailing the issues and what's at stake:Board Vice President Brian Kirschling: http://www. thegazette.com/subject/ opinion/guest-columnists/ balance-and-equity-in-iowa- city-schools-20160710Board President Chris Lynch: http://www.thegazette. com/subject/opinion/guest- columnists/iowa-city-school- election-a-referendum-on- equity-attendance-20160628Vote at your school district polling place, which you can lookup easily here: https://gis.johnson- county.com/ ElectionPollingPlace/Join me in supporting Paul Roesler this Tuesday, July 19. EVERY SINGLE vote counts as turnout will likely be low due to the summer timing. Our community and our students depend on it.
Last, but not least, I would like to submit, for your reading pleasure the opinion of the Iowa City Council and the mayor of North Liberty who officially contacted the board after the May10 meeting when four votes overturned nearly two years worth of board and community work. Both letters indicate that the general obligation (GO) bond in 2017, which is needed to finish our 10-year Facility Master Plan, is very much in jeopardy the way things sit now. Students across the district will continue to suffer in cramped, crowded, hot classrooms and Liberty High will remain unfinished for many years to come if we do not get back on track.
Here are the links:
Letter from City of Iowa City
Letter from Mayor Nielsen of North Liberty
SO, on Tuesday: Vote early. Vote often. Sink the swift boat.
...and make sure your friends, neighbors, and coworkers do too as every vote is going to matter.
Monday, June 6, 2016
We've received conflicting information as to whether the appointment would be until the November, 2016 general election or the next scheduled school election in September, 2017, but the Iowa Code regarding the appointment process is pretty clear on the fact that we must try to appoint. The guidance we received from the Director of Elections from the Iowa Secretary of State's Office is to:
"..... advise your Board of their statutory duty to appoint within 30 days. Provisions in §279.7 that provide for an election if an appointment is not made within 30 days do not give your school board authority to go straight to an election."
6/7/2017 UPDATE: Despite conventional wisdom, sometimes things move pretty fast with the Board. This morning we received guidance from the Johnson County Auditor, as well as the Director of Elections for the Iowa Secretary of State that if we appoint tonight, the term will only run until the next General Election (not School Election) ballot in November of 2016. On the surface, the shorter term (5 months vs 15 as initially thought) isn't an issue with me. However, the District would be responsible for 50% of the cost for regular precincts where ICCSD voters reside. That cost to the District is estimated to be approximately $75k. So, now the dilemma is to appoint and spend $75k in 5 months, or to not appoint and hold a special election in July and spend $16k to do so. As with many questions the Board has to ponder, there are no good decisions, only varying levels of bad ones. I suspect we will get to six votes pretty quick
In other words: you can disregard much of what was written in the initial post above.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
At any rate, I delivered the following comments today during a House Education subcommittee meeting in Des Moines. Hope you enjoy.
- 2nd highest ACT composite in the nation
- 89% graduation rate
- Steady increases in AP testing and students taking concurrent collegiate classes
- Statewide voluntary preschool has quadrupled to 21,429 students over the past five years.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Friday, September 13, 2013
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
From the beginning, I promised to run a positive, issues-based campaign. I laid out what issues I believed in and went out with the help of my awesome campaign staff and my good friend and new MBA grad, Amber, and we tackled this seemingly impossible task. I don't know how the journey will end today, but if nothing else I know I've formed a lot of great relationships.
I believe that we need to take control of this unique moment in our history and focus on our district's long-term future in both facilities and programming. We need to ensure that every child in every neighborhood has an opportunity to achieve their highest potential. That's what a public school system should be about. To have the perception that there are good and bad schools does a disservice to our students and our teachers and is unhealthy for our community.
Apparently, I'm not the only one who feels this way and the sentiment is district-wide. The outpouring of support both in sweat equity and in donations to our cause was humbling. We couldn't have run our campaign without all of you. Win or lose, I am forever grateful.
When the campaign finance reports came out last week, I did a little breakdown:
68% of our contributors gave under $100 with an average of $37.50
32% of our contributors gave over $100 with an average of $135
There were 127 total donors and I have known most of these people for much of my life.
By ZIP code 42% were from 52240, 4% were from 52241, 1% from 52244, 34% from 52245, 14% from 52246, 4% from 52317, 1% from other areas.
You can view all of the candidate reports of income and expenditures by clicking on each candidate's individual dollar amounts HERE if you don't believe me. It's all public record now anyway.
Some have focused in on the record contributions this year. I think it speaks volumes of our community that collectively $35,000 was donated to help the candidates get the word out. In our 24/7 media based society that's a tall order. People obviously do care about education and it's future in our district. I think it's a relatively small price to pay to raise awareness of the issues facing our students and teachers.
Speaking of the other candidates, I have a great respect for all of them. I've met nearly all of the spouses and children and I have just as much respect for them. I know everyone has given it their all and it shows. The physical, emotional and mental toll is incredibly difficult to deal with and I don't wish it on anyone. Jim, Jason, Chris, Karla, Sara, Phil, Tuyet and Greg, my hat's off to all of you and whatever happens today, I've enjoyed getting to know you. Believe it or not, we share a common bond now. I think our little "reality show" is going to set an all time record for voter turnout. No one can ever take that away. Best of luck to all of you today!
What a long strange trip indeed.....see you at the finish line!
Now, get out there and vote. Find your polling place HERE
Our community is at a crossroads. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work for all of our kids. I hope you'll join me.