DFL to host School Board candidate forums

The candidates vying for five open seats on the Minneapolis School Board will meet Thursday in a forum hosted by the Minneapolis DFL, nine days ahead of the party’s May 22 endorsing convention.

This fall, Minneapolis residents will elect school board members to two at-large seats and three district seats on the School Board. The election marks the beginning of a transition for the board from seven to nine members that will be complete after the 2012 election.

The three district seats open in this fall’s election correspond to the odd-numbered Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board districts, all on the eastern side of the city. In 2012, voters will elect three School Board members from the even-numbered districts, plus one at-large member.

The transition process adds one additional School Board seat in each election, bringing the total number of members to eight in 2010 and nine in 2012.

Southwest residents will cast votes only for the two at-large board positions in this election cycle. The candidates include: Chandra Baker, David DeGrio, Rebecca Gagnon, Shirlynn LaChapelle, Richard Mammen, Doug Mann, Mohamud Noor, Marika Pfefferkorn, Dick Velner and incumbent T. Williams.

The announced District 1 candidates are Jenny Arneson and Marcia Thomas. Hussein Samatar in District 3 and Alberto Monserrate in District 5 are so far running unopposed.

The candidate forum, “School Board Choices and School Board Voices,” is set for 6:30–8:30 p.m. at Sanford Middle School, 3524 42nd Ave. S.

Scheduled to moderate were Minnesota Public Radio reporter Art Hughes and Ann Alquist of online news source Twin Cities Daily Planet. The forum is free and open to the public.

A second forum is scheduled to take place immediately before the Minneapolis DFL School Board endorsing convention May 22 at Patrick Henry High School, 4320 Newton Ave. N. Registration for the convention opens at 8 a.m., with the forum beginning at 8:30 a.m. The convention will start at 10 a.m.

Voters looking for more information on School Board candidates may also join the MPS Parents Forum, an online message board run by district parents. Forum moderators are posting questions for the candidates and their responses weekly.