Is This Right or a Disservice?

March 26, 2016 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment


By Andrew Richter

Looks like no primary for District 281 and, once again, a late filing date.

A quick, nonbinding “up or down” vote at a March 7 Robbinsdale Area Schools work session put the kibosh on the possibility for a primary election this August.

How about we have this discussion at a board meeting or have a public hearing and see what the people you represent think?

School Board members unanimously gave “thumbs down” to the idea, with the general consensus that a primary would not significantly narrow the candidate field and would be prohibitively expensive. The board will have three seats up for grabs this November. Those seats are occupied by Board Member Helen Bassett, Chair Sherry Tyrell and Board Member John Vento.

“If you heard 10 people were running for three seats, you might want to narrow it down,” said Vento.

Documents supplied at the meeting indicate that the estimated cost for an election is $8,000 to $10,000, an expense that includes legal publications, attorney fees and other accoutrements.

“It’s good to talk about it, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth, in my opinion,” said Bassett.

Well at least your open minded.

In 2007, the state made primaries optional in school board elections. The board at the time passed a resolution opting out of a potential primary, and current board members recalled a primary during a non-presidential election year that narrowed the candidate field from nine people to eight and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Boardmember Michael Herring said the district’s ongoing facilities and curriculum re-think could be a “catalyst” for interest in the open seats. The district’s initial plans for a disused elementary building in Plymouth drew large crowds to a series of board meetings, and similarly controversial decisions in previous years – like budget cuts in the late 2000s – resulted in relatively large candidate fields then, too.

In 2014, a total of eight candidates – two of whom were incumbents – filed to run for four available seats. There was no primary election that year, either, after a similar decision was reached by that iteration of the school board.

The board’s March 7 decision was not formal or binding, but the board would need to pass a resolution before April 15 that calls for a primary in order for one to occur. The distinct lack of support for one at the work session makes that unlikely.

The filing period for the general election on Nov. 8 is August 2-16. The school district hosts two “so you want to run for the school board?” informational sessions before filing opens.

Folks, I’m not completely sure what I think about this. I know some people don’t like primaries especially with the low voter turnout, but I don’t believe that this is a “cost saving” measure. I think this is here to protect the Union-backed board members. My evidence for this is that the filing period is in August rather than May like city and county elections. How is any candidate supposed to campaign in all or part of seven cities in 11 weeks? How are they supposed to raise funds or knock on doors?

Union mob rules!!!!

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Entry filed under: Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope, Plymouth, Robbinsdale, School Board, Uncategorized.

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