Two incumbents not running, nine file
BY Paul Groessel
Sun POST Newspapers
There are nine candidates who have filed to run for three open Osseo Area School Board seats in this year’s general election.
The school board is comprised of six board members. Jim Burgett, Tammie Epley and Teresa Lunt are up for re-election, and Burgett is the only incumbent who has filed for re-election, according to Minnesota Secretary of State filing information.
Epley could not be immediately reached before deadline for the article, and Lunt said that she had decided not to run because of the school board and district’s decision in April to use the consultant Pacific Education Group as part of the school district’s long-term equity plan.
She said that she does not agree with the group’s premise and basis for its equity training for teachers and staff.
“I am an ardent supporter of our district’s mission for all children,” she wrote in a May guest column for the Sun Post. “Our racial achievement gap is unacceptable, and, as a board member, I understand it is my responsibility to see that we continue our work to ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed.”
It is PEG’s Critical Race Theory that she disagrees with, she said.
“CRT states racism is systemic and pervasive in the dominant white culture of American society and that whiteness and white privilege continue to marginalize people of color,” she wrote. “… Empirical support for PEG’s work is limited, especially when compared to other strategies to reduce the achievement gap (such as longer school days, longer school years, and parental involvement). While some districts have seen positive results with this approach, others have chosen to continue their work using other approaches and vendors.”
This theory would be applied to training throughout the district, she said, and it is not something that she could support as a board member, so she made a difficult decision to not run again.
“I want something that’s going to unite our staff and community and not divide it,” she said in an interview. “… I cannot publicly and privately support the work, and for me it was a real ethical decision. I can’t continue in a role if I disagree with this publicly and privately.”
With two incumbents deciding not to run for office, eight new candidates will be vying for the openings. In the coming weeks leading up to the Nov. 4 election, the Sun Post will include information about each of the following candidates who have filed for Osseo School Board: Oduwa Aibuedefe Aganmwonyi, Pa Modou Ann, Susan Brown-Whistler, James E. Burgett, Jessica Craig, Delma J. Francis, Robert Gerhart, Radious Y. Guess and Collette Guyott-Hempel.
Term lengths on the Osseo School Board are four years, and three seats are up for election every two years. The school board chairperson is paid $750 per month ($9,000 annually). The clerk is paid $675 per month ($8,100 annually), and other board members are paid $650 per month ($7,800 annually).
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