In a late Friday announcement, the Iowa City Education Association made only one endorsement - incumbent Tuyet Dorau - for the three school board seats in Tuesday's election.
However, three other candidates - fellow incumbent Karla Cook and first time candidates Chris Lynch and Brian Kirschling - were listed as "honorable mention," coming close to but short of the 50% vote of ICEA members required for endorsement.
It's another confusing cue in the nine-way race that's a textbook argument for ranked choice voting. Another leading labor body, the Iowa City Federation of Labor, backed Cook (a retired ICEA member) and Jim Tate, but could not get a consensus for a third endorsement.
According to the ICEA press release, Dorau received 57.7% of ICEA votes, followed by Lynch at 40%, Cook with 37.7% and Kirschling with 36.2%. Numbers for the other five candidates were not listed.
“We feel incredibly lucky to have nine dedicated candidates who are so passionate about education and kids in our community,” ICEA Co-President Ben Mosher said in the release. ”Each candidate brought a wealth of experience and perspectives, not just to the campaign, but to their work with the schools.”
The three runners-up "exhibited exceptional leadership qualities, a wealth of knowledge and experience with the school district, and promising visions for Iowa City Schools."
The clincher for Dorau:
"Dorau distinguished herself with her strategic problem solving skills and complex understanding of ICCSD institutions and processes, her community history as an ICCSD graduate, and her diversity as a political refugee from Vietnam. Dorau’s voting record reveals support for schools, students, and teachers east and west of the Iowa River."That "east-west of the Iowa River" thing seems to be a big deal in this election... but there seem to be two different east side factions: a "Save Hoover" group backing Sara Barron, Phil Hemingway and Gregg Geerdes, and a City High oriented crew supporting Cook and Kirschling. (Again: as a Roosevelt parent I'm somewhat detached from the Don't Close My School emotions.)
To the west, a "North Corridor Parents" group is backing Dorau and Lynch "if using bullet voting," the tactic where you don't use all your votes just in case your third choice puts your top choice out of the money. Welcome to the Survivor Island School Election. North Corridor Parents offer a qualified "If voting for three, Sara Barron is 3rd."
On Wednesday, the Press-Citizen endorsed Lynch, Kirschling and Jason Lewis. Saturday the Gazette backed Lynch, Dorau and Barron.
Early voting is running hot. The 1032 requests from the ICCSD as of 3 PM Friday is the most ever for a school board election, and is headed toward the levels of a school bond. Voting continues Monday at the Auditor's Office, 7:45 to 5:30.