ISD 197 School Board

Big Goal: School Board Coverage

I’m continually amazed and grateful at the base of support for West St. Paul Reader we’ve built up over the last two and a half years. It allows for consistent, steady coverage of West St. Paul, including regular city council recaps, breaking news, and in-depth personal interviews. This local coverage could not happen without our supporters. These folks—currently 125 strong—support us with monthly or annual donations, starting at $3 per month, through Patreon.

So What’s Next?

West St. Paul Reader really started with city council coverage. Our very first post was a recap of a city council meeting. Since then, we’ve covered every single meeting.

Why city council?

Because it’s an important way to create transparency in local government. Meetings are televised, but people shouldn’t have to wade through hours worth of meetings to know what’s going on.

And what happens at city council has a huge impact.

“City councils make the rules that directly affect your day-to-day life. That pothole in front of your house? The city council can fix that. The zoning laws in your neighborhood? Yep, city council. Whether that local bar gets a 2 a.m. liquor license or a 4 a.m. liquor license? City council! City councils deal with street maintenance, city taxes, parking meters, and public services like libraries, pools, and transportation.”

Run for Something by Amanda Litman

So what’s next for West St. Paul Reader? More transparency in local government: School board coverage.

Why School Board?

We saw big growth during the 2021 ISD 197 school board election, including many new members from Mendota Heights (hi!). A lot of folks were thankful and had kind words to say about our coverage.

“This school board election (ours and every single one happening in November) is shaping up to be more interesting than any I can remember. I am so grateful to read through the responses of the candidates, and SO grateful that it’s so accessible to share and reference. So much of this information would have flown under the radar or simply not had a forum to exist in without this local news source.”

Andrea Buzzell, Sept. 16, 2021, Facebook post

We’ve covered big stories in ISD 197 before, but we haven’t had consistent coverage of the school board.

Much like city council, school board is an important local body of government that gets little if any coverage. Important decisions happen at school board that impact our kids, our taxes, and the future of our entire community.

Giving people visibility into what’s happening at school board is a vital community service. But we need help to do it.

What School Board Coverage Requires

The ISD 197 school board meets on the first and third Mondays of the month. One of those meetings isn’t even televised, so coverage demands in-person attendance. We already cover West St. Paul City Council on the second and fourth Mondays, so taking up the rest of our Monday evenings is a big commitment. Never mind the required research and follow up to offer context and insight.

If we’re going to cover ISD 197 school board, we’ll need a lot more support.

So we added a new Patreon goal: If we hit 250 members, we start a pilot program to do regular coverage of the ISD 197 school board.

We’re at 125 members now, so 250 is a big, big step. That’s going to take a while. But if we can build that kind of steady support (and maintain it), we can successfully expand into school board coverage. We’ll need the community to step up and support it. 

Support Local News

So if you’d like to see coverage of the ISD 197 school board, please support West St. Paul Reader through Patreon. Membership starts at just $3 per month (pay annually and save 5%).

In addition to making local news happen, you also get exclusive weekly updates, a discount in our Etsy shop, and a locally commissioned thank you postcard.

Go above and beyond membership and spread the word. Tell your friends and neighbors to support local news and get us closer to our goal.

Thank you.

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