ABC Referendum Committee, 10/30/08 • 5th District Congressman Keith Ellison and Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, honorary co-chairs of the Stong Schools Strong City referendum, have endorsed the school board districting initiative that will also be on the ballot for Minneapolis voters next Tuesday School Board Director Tom Madden announced today.
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All three leaders struck similar themes of the importance of broad representation by all communities on the Minneapolis school board.
Rybak said “I’m voting for this because it will connect students, parents and community members better to their schools in a way that will build stronger schools for our kids.”
Ellison, a co-author on the authorizing legislation when he served in the Minnesota House of Representatives, summed up his support for the referendum “When I was in the State Legislature, I worked with the entire Minneapolis delegation to allow Minneapolis to make our school board more directly accountable to parents. My guiding philosophy as a candidate and elected official is “Everybody Counts, Everybody Matters.” I believe that passing the School Board Districting Referendum makes sure that every parent and every neighborhood gets a voice in our how schools are governed.
The referendum would change the governance structure of the Minneapolis school board from the current seven member all elected at large to a nine member board with six members elected by district and three elected at-large. If passed by the voters all current continuing board members and those elected on Tuesday would fill out their terms and the new structure would begin to be implemented with the 2010 elections.
Ellison continued “This election year, the people of Minneapolis have an opportunity to vote to change how our School Board is elected. By passing the School Board Districting Referendum, we make our school board more accountable to parents and our community. Passing the referendum makes sure all neighborhoods in Minneapolis are represented equally and allows parents to know which school board member represents them.”
Madden pointed out that “this would allow a richer field of candidates to emerge and serve on the Minneapolis school board. They would better reflect the city and the children we serve as well as the skills that we need represented on the Board”