Campaign Description

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

Email us at or call 331-6746

Monday, June 6, 2016

To Appoint, or Not to Appoint....THAT is the question.

Tomorrow evening, the ICCSD Board of Education will be considering seven applicants who have submitted their names for possible appointment to the board seat vacated by Director Yates last month.  All seven are brave souls to put themselves out there and I am grateful that we have such interest in our community. 

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."

In other words, the Board must try, in good faith, to appoint.  If we do not appoint someone by June 12, then by default, we would go to a special election.

There are a few concerns I have with willingly not appointing and intentionally letting the process roll over to special election...  

First, and foremost, is that the Board will have willingly not done what Iowa Code explicitly directs us to do. Dillon's Rule applies to school boards in Iowa and unlike Home Rule, which applies to other elected entities, it does not allow us to chart our own path.  We can only do what we are permitted to do. 

Second, elections cost money.  The best estimate I have seen is approximately $16,000 for the District to hold a special election this summer.  That money comes directly out of our General Fund, which pays for teachers, transportation and student learning.  

Third, there are numerous decisions that must be made by the board over this summer.  With secondary boundaries in flux (yet again), new schools set to be completed within the year, rapid growth in a time of inadequate funding, a general obligation bond campaign on the horizon, and an achievement gap for our minority students that we have vowed to attack, we don't have the luxury of time and an election would hamstring us for another six weeks at minimum. 

Finally, my suspicion is that a school district election held in the summer when people are busy with vacations, summer camps, etc may create low turnout and could be viewed as not being truly representative of the community. Anyone elected would be serving until 2019.  School district elections can be affected by a few hundred votes and when the outcome is to fill only one seat, it may create problems for the credibility of that person and the board as a whole going forward. 

There are seven good people all with individual strengths who have willingly put themselves forth for consideration.  I believe, that in the interest of saving money and time that we need to look no further than this great group of people in order to find our newest member and resume the important work that is currently on hold. 

One final note: It'll take just four votes to appoint, but in my opinion, six would be best. If I were a new appointee, I certainly wouldn't want to come into this board knowing that 1/3 of my colleagues didn't support me.  

To view tomorrow's agenda and to read the applications click HERE

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.