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In a year where people are more vocal at school board meetings, people are beginning to recognize a shift: politics appear to be playing a role in a non-partisan race. “I think it’s here to stay for better or for worse,” said Justin Allen, the current president of the Johnston School Board, who is also running for re-election. Allen believes school plans made due to the pandemic are why voters are getting more involved. He notes organizations and action groups no matter what whey they lean are also increasingly getting involved in local elections. Allen told KCCI he believes it’s not a problem up until a certain point.”If you sign a pledge to an outside organization, you’re no longer thinking independently for what’s best for the district,” Allen said. A press release sent out by 1776 Action, a nonprofit organization, said three Johnston School Board candidates signed the 1776 pledge. The candidates named were Deb Davis, Clint Evans and Derek Tidball. The statement said the pledge is “to defeat toxic, CRT-inspired curriculum & restore honest, patriotic education”. KCCI reached out to Derek Tidball, who was set to speak on Sunday but had to reschedule due to continuous campaigning efforts. He did send KCCI the following statement later in the evening: “The issues raised by my campaign are a direct reflection of the concerns parents have raised on the over 1500 doorsteps I have visited. “Our Johnston School District has long ranked at the top of the state – that’s why I moved here. Now it’s ranked sixth, just within the metro. As a result, many parents tell me they want a curriculum that returns Johnston to the top. “As for politicization of local races, the Polk County Democratic Party has spent ~$20,000 on city and school board races this cycle. Please find the following public statements and celebrations by the Polk County Democratic Party reflecting their long, active and very public involvement in school board races over the last few years.”Tidball also posted his reasoning for signing the pledge on more on what it means on his campaign Facebook page on Friday. Justin Allen stressed that curriculum pitting students against each other based on race or gender isn’t being used in the Johnston School District.University of Iowa political science professor Tim Hagle weighed in on the role politics are beginning to play in local, non-partisan elections. He told KCCI nationalized issues grab people’s attention before an election, even when it’s not a problem in their community. “If you have an area that’s more politically polarized, that may influence whether the local elections are also a little polarized,” Hagle said. According to the Iowa Association of Schools Boards (IASB), there are 1,671 total candidates running for this year’s race across the state–where there are only 911 seats up for election. There are 760 new candidates, which is up from 2019’s 662 new candidates. The IASB said this year is the first time in recent years that new candidates have significantly outnumbered incumbents, but that there is not a significant decline in incumbents running statewide. The IASB says as always it’s important for people to get out and vote, but to do it with more than just politics in mind. “The objective is that we can find what we all want for our students,” said Lisa Bartusek, Iowa Association of School Boards executive director. “So that’s one thing I think has to be a filter for every candidate we elect is how will you help not just represent your own views, but to seek the common ground so that we can move forward as a state.”

In a year where people are more vocal at school board meetings, people are beginning to recognize a shift: politics appear to be playing a role in a non-partisan race.

“I think it’s here to stay for better or for worse,” said Justin Allen, the current president of the Johnston School Board, who is also running for re-election.

Allen believes school plans made due to the pandemic are why voters are getting more involved. He notes organizations and action groups no matter what whey they lean are also increasingly getting involved in local elections.

Allen told KCCI he believes it’s not a problem up until a certain point.

“If you sign a pledge to an outside organization, you’re no longer thinking independently for what’s best for the district,” Allen said.

A press release sent out by 1776 Action, a nonprofit organization, said three Johnston School Board candidates signed the 1776 pledge. The candidates named were Deb Davis, Clint Evans and Derek Tidball. The statement said the pledge is “to defeat toxic, CRT-inspired curriculum & restore honest, patriotic education”.

KCCI reached out to Derek Tidball, who was set to speak on Sunday but had to reschedule due to continuous campaigning efforts. He did send KCCI the following statement later in the evening:

“The issues raised by my campaign are a direct reflection of the concerns parents have raised on the over 1500 doorsteps I have visited.

“Our Johnston School District has long ranked at the top of the state – that’s why I moved here. Now it’s ranked sixth, just within the metro. As a result, many parents tell me they want a curriculum that returns Johnston to the top.

“As for politicization of local races, the Polk County Democratic Party has spent ~$20,000 on city and school board races this cycle. Please find the following public statements and celebrations by the Polk County Democratic Party reflecting their long, active and very public involvement in school board races over the last few years.”

Tidball also posted his reasoning for signing the pledge on more on what it means on his campaign Facebook page on Friday.

Justin Allen stressed that curriculum pitting students against each other based on race or gender isn’t being used in the Johnston School District.

University of Iowa political science professor Tim Hagle weighed in on the role politics are beginning to play in local, non-partisan elections. He told KCCI nationalized issues grab people’s attention before an election, even when it’s not a problem in their community.

“If you have an area that’s more politically polarized, that may influence whether the local elections are also a little polarized,” Hagle said.

According to the Iowa Association of Schools Boards (IASB), there are 1,671 total candidates running for this year’s race across the state–where there are only 911 seats up for election. There are 760 new candidates, which is up from 2019’s 662 new candidates. The IASB said this year is the first time in recent years that new candidates have significantly outnumbered incumbents, but that there is not a significant decline in incumbents running statewide.

The IASB says as always it’s important for people to get out and vote, but to do it with more than just politics in mind.

“The objective is that we can find what we all want for our students,” said Lisa Bartusek, Iowa Association of School Boards executive director. “So that’s one thing I think has to be a filter for every candidate we elect is how will you help not just represent your own views, but to seek the common ground so that we can move forward as a state.”

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(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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