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Monserrate chooses business over board

  • Blog Post by: Steve Brandt
  • January 17, 2014 - 8:47 PM

Alberto Monserrate Friday said he's not running for a second term on the Minneapolis school board, making him the second member of the board class elected in 2010 to make that decision this week.

Monserrate, who had been agonizing over the decision for weeks, said he finally decided that the demands of growing his business interests would take more time than he could spare for board work.

“I honestly struggled with it, even up until yesterday.  I went back and forth. It’s a business career decision," Monserrate said. He has run a Latino-oriented media company that has grown into advertising, public relations and even fashion.  He said he's planning to an "aggressive expansion" into a new venture soon.

“You just put it all together, it’s very hard to balance both.  I can’t figure it out,” he said. Monserrate and some acquaintances said he'd changed his mind on running again several times.

Monserrate joins fellow 2010 electee Richard Mammen in opting not to run this year for another term. A third member of that class, Hussein Samatar, died of leukemia in August. The other two people elected that year, city-wide member Rebecca Gagnon, and Jenny Arneson, from the board's East Side district, both are seeking another term.

Mammen's plans will leave a vacancy for a city-wide seat, but Monserrate represents a Nokomis-area district that lies generally south of E. 36th Street and east of Interstate 35W.  Two men have emerged as potential candidates there.

Jay Larson, 38, a parent leader at Lake Nokomis Community School, said Thursday he was interested in running "but it's only an interest right now." He said before Monserrate's announcement that he was more interested for a district seat than city-wide, if Monserrate opted out. He has three children at the school.

Meanwhile, Nelson Inz, 44, a teacher at Great River charter school, said he's also been interested in running for a long while. He lives in the Regina neighborhood, and is the father of two preschooolers.

Monserrate has chaired the board for two of the three years he has served, and Mammen won the chair's job Tuesday in a contested election. Monserrate said he'll leave the board feeling more confident about the district's stability, Enrollment is rising and the board has adopted the first balanced budget in several years, overseeing an improved credit rating,

Although sustained achievement gains for minority students have been elusive, Monserrate said "our long term plans are sound academic plans but our short term plans stress more urgency than what’s been possible before.” 

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