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Ten Candidates Running for ISD 197 School Board in 2021

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

The filing period to run for school board in ISD 197 closed today and now we know who is running for election in 2021.

Who’s Running for School Board in 2021?

Here are the candidates running for three open seats on the school board:

  • Timothy J. Aune, Mendota Heights 
  • Stephanie A. Auran, West St. Paul
  • John Chandler, Mendota Heights (incumbent; first elected in 2013)
  • Mark Grondahl, Mendota Heights
  • Marcus Hill, West St. Paul (incumbent; appointed in 2021; campaign site)
  • Sarah Larsen, Mendota Heights (campaign site)
  • Robert Reese, Sunfish Lake 
  • Morgan Steele, West St. Paul (campaign site)
  • Jon Vaupel, Mendota Heights (campaign site)
  • Elena Villarreal, West St. Paul (Dropped out in September)

There is no primary for school board elections, so all candidates will appear on the November 2 ballot.

Candidates have until August 12 to change their mind and drop out, so we may see this list decrease. (August 12, 2021 Update: No one withdrew.)


The election will be on Tuesday, November 2 with absentee voting starting on Friday, September 17. Remember you get to vote for three candidates. Make sure you’re registered to vote—and be sure to check your polling location since off-year elections use combined polling locations.

The candidates won’t be the only thing on the ballot. The 2011 operating levy is up and the school board is asking for it to be renewed (but not increased).

Nerding Out

Here are a few fun facts about this year’s election:

  • It’s the first contested race since 2015.
  • Assuming nobody drops out in the next two days, This is the most candidates running in the last 30 years. The previous record was nine candidates, which happened in 1999 and 2015.
  • The last time a referendum appeared on the November ballot with school board candidates was when this levy was last renewed in 2011. Then it more than doubled the levy and passed with 62% of the vote.
  • Get more school board fun facts.

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One comment

  1. Eventually, would LOVE to see for each candidate—which schools do they/did they send their kids, and if they currently have kids enrolled in the district. If they live in West St. Paul, they can still send their kids to schools in Mendota Heights. Would be great to see that breakdown some day!

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