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Potential school candidates remain coy

Posted by: Steve Brandt under Education, Politics and government Updated: May 13, 2014 - 10:54 AM

The filing period to run for school board opens in a week but two potential candidates for city-wide seats are playing it coy on their plans.

Ira Jourdain, who topped out at third place with 42 percent support from DFL delegates at their recent endorsing convention, said Monday that he's "still weighing my options."  But he ruled out a run in District 3, where he lives and where delegates endorsed Siad Ali.

Meanwhile, Andrew Minck, the last place finisher in convention balloting, was too busy to discuss his plans when the Star Tribune called on Monday.  He said he'd call back later but didn't.

The campaign web sites for Minck and Jourdain and still live, however.

Both could find taking on the endorsees, incumbent Rebecca Gagnon and newcomer Iris Altamirano, given the high success rate over the past 20 years for endorsees. Typically, the only time people without a DFL endorsement have been elected to the school board is when the party doesn't endorse a full slate of candidates.  That happened in 2010 when Gagnon was elected along with sole city-wide endorsee Richard Mammen.

Another board member elected without endorsement was Jopsh Reimnitz.  That happened when the party endorsed a candidate who ended up not running, and Reimnitz won by a whisker.

Both Minck and Reimnitz come out of a Teach For America background, doing stints for the organization that puts college graduates into classrooms after a summer of training. Minck now works for the organization's office.

That raises the possibility that he could tap a potential campaign war chest that would rival the record amount raised by Reimnitz in 2012.  The nearly $40,000 he raised was all the more remarkable because he raised it for a district race covering about one-sixth of the city's population, while the previous fundraising record was for Mammen's city-wide race.

Much of that spending was raised by a network of people associated with so-called school reform groups, including Teach For Americaq alumni or employees. Many contributors also lived outside Minneapolis. Meanwhile, a Minneapolis teacher union political action committee also spent thousands of dollars on behalf of opponent Patricia Wycoff.

(Above: Ira Jourdain; below: Andrew Minck    

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