In the Nov. 2 special election, Steve Bartz and Francesca Pagan-Umar were the top vote-getters to fill two open Eden Prairie School Board seats.
According to preliminary final voting results from the Minnesota Secretary of State website, Bartz had 1,979 votes or 39.03% of the vote. Pagan-Umar had 1,841 votes, or 36.31% of the vote.
Albert Born came in third with 566 votes or 11.16%, followed by Michelle Mattison with 363 votes or 7.16%, while Darryl Stanton had 311 votes or 6.13 percent. There were 10 write-in votes.
Election results are unofficial until they are canvassed by the School Board, which is scheduled to occur at a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8.
As the candidate receiving the most votes, Bartz will be sworn-in on Nov. 22.
As the appointed candidate, Pagan-Umar will be seated at the school board’s Dec. 13 meeting. That is according to the board’s work plan.
Bartz and his wife, Traci, have three children. He is a certified registered nurse anesthetist.
In a statement sent via email, Bartz said that he wanted to recognize all of the candidates who ran and the time and hard work they devoted to the special election.
“This was a great group of people,” Bartz wrote. “I also want to commend our community for turning out in good numbers, taking an interest in the voting process for school board candidates.”
What put him over the top with voters? Bartz thinks it was all the “little things along the way” that made the difference.
“I give a lot of credit to our small but effective campaign team,” Bartz said. “Each of us has kids in EP schools and wants each student in the district to have a high-quality education and school experience. The team did a great job of networking and getting the word out regarding this special election. We really believed in our ‘Students First’ message and the importance of continuing the district’s success as a leader of academic excellence.”
Bartz looks forward to collaborating with the board members and administrative team and “getting up to speed” with board policy and governance.
“It will be both a humbling and exciting experience,” he said.
Pagan-Umar and her husband, Muhammad, have three children. She is a teacher.
In a statement sent via email, Pagan-Umar thanked “those who supported me for your belief in my experience, my background, and my commitment to serve. For those that didn’t support me, you were heard as well.”
Pagan-Umar said she is honored to accept the seat vacated by Fletcher.
“The work of bringing everyone to the table continues, as I am committed to serving every student,” she said. “I look forward to being seated in December. Thank you, Eden Prairie!”
Why a special election was needed
The seat up for election opened when Veronica Stoltz resigned in May 2021. Bartz will fill the seat until January 2023.
Board member Beth Fletcher resigned her seat in September, opening another seat. The board considered several options to fill that seat because the resignation came too late to include it on the Nov. 2 special election ballot.
In September, the board voted to appoint the second-highest vote-getter to fill Fletcher’s seat in the special election. That seat comes up for election in November 2024.
Voters on Nov. 2 cast their ballot for one candidate only.
Here is a breakdown from the Secretary of State’s office of how residents voted in each precinct. Note that all the votes came in four of the five precincts. (No votes were reported in Bloomington Precinct 17.)
Editor’s note: This story was updated Wednesday morning, Nov. 3, with comments from Steve Bartz and Francesca Pagan-Umar.