DFLers win St. Paul school races

  • Article by: DAAREL BURNETTE II , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 8, 2011 - 11:57 PM

All four of the party's endorsees said they'll focus on boosting academics.

All four DFL-endorsed candidates were elected Tuesday to St. Paul's school board.

Anne Carroll will enter her fourth term on the board next year. Joining her will be incumbent Keith Hardy and newcomers Louise Seeba and Mary Doran.

All four were at a DFL gathering at Skinner's Pub & Eatery in St. Paul Tuesday night when the results came in.

All spoke of raising academic achievement in the district among minority students and successfully implementing the "Strong Schools Strong Communities" strategic plan, which will convert several magnet schools into neighborhood schools in the coming years.

"I absolutely believe the results -- how clear they are -- is an absolute referendum on our strategic plan," said Carroll, a strategic planning consultant. "I think our community stood up and said, 'We are going in the right direction.' I want to continue working with community stakeholders to refine [the strategic plan] as we move forward and strengthen the work on behalf of our students."

Seeba, an assistant city attorney for St. Paul who has two children in the district, didn't return calls seeking comment.

Hardy, an information technology consultant, will enter his second term on the board.

"I want to make sure that the district raises its academic proficiency for all of our students," he said. "We have to stop students of color and poor students from performing way lower than they're capable of."

Mary Doran, a freelance drafter and designer who has served on the school district's budget committee, said she hopes to improve district transparency and to reduce its budget deficit. "I'm already hitting the ground running," she said. "I'm planning on working very hard on the communication from the district to the community, schools and parents. That seems to have been missing in the past couple years."

Also running for school board were Tiffany Fearing, Richard Robinson, Pat Igo, Kevin Huepenbecker, Devin Miller and Al Oertwig.

Board member Jeff Risberg, who was appointed to Vallay Varro's seat after Varro resigned, took the job with the promise that he would not run this year. And Kazoua Kong-Thao did not seek re-election.

Board members and election officials agreed in March to eliminate primary elections for the first time since 1965. Board members said low turnout at primaries didn't justify the costs and caused some to question the fairness of primaries.

Daarel Burnette II • 651-735-1695 Twitter: @DaarelStrib

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