The Eden Prairie School Board is beginning to host information sessions for potential candidates interested in running in the November election.
A meeting was held on Tuesday, June 20, and another will be held after the filing deadline is complete. Board Chair Adam Seidel and Superintendent Josh Swanson were present to answer questions and give advice.
Five seats will be up for election on Nov. 8. Four of these seats are full, four-year term positions. Current board members holding these seats are Seidel, Aaron Casper, Debjyoti Dwivedy, and Steve Bartz.
A final seat is also up for election to fill the seat of Beth Fletcher, who resigned in 2021. The board appointed the runner-up of last year’s special election, Francesca Pagan-Umar, to fill this position until the next election. The winner of this election will serve the remainder of the seat’s term, which is two years.
The filing period begins Aug. 2 and ends Aug. 16. Candidates will need to indicate if they are running for the full-term seats or to fill out the remainder of the two-year seat. Filing costs $2, and the paperwork can be found with the school district clerk.
There are a limited number of eligibility requirements for candidates. The minimum age is 21, and the candidate must be an eligible voter who has lived in the district for at least 30 days prior to the election. Additionally, the candidate cannot be a convicted felon nor have any conflicts of interest.
Board members are paid a stipend of $400 each month. They are expected to attend two monthly meetings, as well as several mandatory training sessions. Additionally, board members serve on committees that meet once or twice monthly.
The Eden Prairie School Board operates under a “policy governance” model that is different from how many boards across the state operate. Rather than being directly in charge of setting individual, low-level policies for the school, the board establishes a set of high-level goals that are intended to achieve their vision for the district. The school superintendent is then responsible for executing these policies.
Seidel encouraged anyone interested in making a difference in their community to run.
“We want folks who are motivated and looking to serve,” he said. “I think if you have that desire to serve the whole community and believe that Eden Prairie Schools are not only a special school district but are one of the critical ingredients that make Eden Prairie a special place to live, you should consider running.”
Interested candidates are encouraged to go to the School Board’s website, where they can find out a variety of information about the board’s policies and view past meetings.
The Minnesota School Board Association is also holding a webinar for first-time school board candidates at 1 p.m. on July 21.
Seidel and Swanson encouraged anyone who is serious about running to begin attending board meetings, which are held twice a month on Mondays at 6 p.m. Meetings are held in the Administrative Services building and are also streamed online.
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