School District 197

Who’s Running for ISD 197 School Board in 2021?

Thanks to Southview Animal Hospital for their support.

Sept. 16, 2021 Update: See our official ISD 197 voter’s guide for full details on the election.

Aug. 10, 2021 Update: The filing period is now closed. Here’s our update on who’s officially running.

While odd years are typically off-election years, we do have school board elections this year. Three seats on the ISD 197 school board will be on the ballot in November. So who’s going to run?

The election will also likely see a levy renewal, something the school board will decide in August.

How ISD 197 School Board Elections Work

Before we get into who’s running, let’s talk about how to run for office. Seven members serve on the ISD 197 school board for four-year terms. They’re up for election in odd years with staggered terms. In order to run you need to be at least 21 years old and live in the district for 30 days before the election.

The filing period to run for school board opens July 27 and closes August 10 (the withdrawal deadline is August 12, which means you have two days to change your mind and pull out). There is a $2 filing fee.

There is no primary for school board elections, so all candidates will appear on the November 2 ballot, regardless of how many candidates there are. (Nine candidates for four seats seems to be the record in the last 30 years. It happened twice, in 1999 and 2015. Get more school board fun facts.)

Why Talk Who’s Running?

The topic of who’s running has often been a subject of gossip and whispers. But it’s good for our local democracy to have an open conversation about who’s running.

  • If you like who’s running, you can start to build positive buzz.
  • If you don’t like who’s running, maybe you should talk to your neighbors and find someone else (or you should run!).
  • If a race is uncontested—and the last two ISD 197 school board elections have been uncontested—then maybe it’s time to start recruiting. Contested elections are good for our democracy.
  • And just because someone is running, that doesn’t mean you or someone else can’t or shouldn’t run. Our democracy is strengthened by participation.

So Who’s Going to Run Already?

Here’s our confirmed list of who’s in for the 2021 ISD 197 school board election:

  • Timothy J. Aune – Running & officially filed
  • Stephanie A. Auran – Running & officially filed
  • John Chandler (incumbent; first elected in 2013) – Running & officially filed
  • Mark Grondahl – Running & officially filed
  • Marcus Hill (incumbent; appointed in 2021) – Running & officially filed
  • Sarah Larsen – Running & officially filed
  • Robert Reese – Running & officially filed
  • Morgan Steele – Running & officially filed
  • Jon Vaupel – Running & officially filed
  • Elena Villarreal – Running & officially filed (dropped out in September)
  • Maureen Ramirez (incumbent; first elected in 2017) – Tells us she’s not running

Planning on running? Let us know. (Or tired of people asking you if you’re running when you’re not? Let us know that too.)

We’ll do our best to keep this updated as we approach the filing period. It won’t be official until candidates can file starting on July 27. The filing period closes on August 10 and candidates then have two days to change their mind.

Then it’s time to vote on November 2 (or vote by mail or in person starting September 17). Make sure you’re registered to vote—and be sure to check your polling location since off-year elections use combined polling locations.

Remember: People can change their minds. Even with a confirmation, this list isn’t official. Life happens and things change. Also, we’re not dealing in speculation. These are confirmed candidates willing to share that info publicly—not everyone is ready or willing to share that info.

You Should Run

Want to add your name to this list? You should run.

Or maybe you know someone who would make a great school board member. Tell them they should run.

“Run for office. Even though it’s hard, even though you might lose, and even if you’re scared—especially if you’re scared—if you care about the future of this country and our democracy, you need to run. You can do this.”

Amanda Litman, Run for Something (this book is written from a Democratic perspective, but if you can get past that bias, it’s an incredibly helpful resource)

There are also a lot of organizations out there helping people run for office:

Minnesota Organizations:

National Organizations:

Local election coverage only happens thanks to your support.

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