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Five School Board seats on fall ballot

Four of five District 833 School Board members whose terms expire this year said they are undecided on re-election bids ahead of the upcoming filing period.

Seats held by Tracy Brunnette, Marsha Adou, Laurie Johnson, David Kemper and Katy McElwee-Stevens will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The candidate filing period opens July 30, and only Brunnette so far has said she will seek another term on School Board.

The odd-year election, which traditionally draws low voter turnout, may bring more voters to the polls because the District 833 plans a three-question referendum that, if approved, would renew existing levies and increase property taxes to provide more funding for school safety, classroom operations and other district expenses, as well as provide cash for the potential acquisition of land for future construction of new elementary and middle schools.

Board members cited various reasons for remaining undecided.

Kemper, of Woodbury, said he hadn't made up his mind and would do so after talking it over with his family.

Adou, also of Woodbury, said recently that she had not made up her mind. She had been out of the country last month.

Johnson said there were personal things holding up her decision about running again, but she would run again if able.

"I am not committing yet, but not ruling it out either," Johnson, of Woodbury, said in an email.

Four of the five seats are four-year terms. The seat held by McElwee-Stevens will be filled in a special election -- on the same Nov. 5 ballot -- because it's a two-year term. (McElwee-Stevens was appointed early this year to fill out the term of Leslee Boyd, who stepped down.)

McElwee-Stevens, who has battled cancer, said she was waiting to make a decision until after she talked with her oncologist.

Board members Ron Kath and Jim Gelbmann are not up for re-election this year.

If you run

The filing period opens Tuesday, July 30, and runs until 5 p.m. Aug. 13. Candidates can pick up an affidavit of candidacy at the District Service Center, 7362 East Point Douglas Road, Cottage Grove. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 13. There is a $2 fee to file.

Board candidates must be eligible voters, at least 21 years old, a resident of the district for at least 30 days before the Nov. 5 election and not a convicted predatory offender.

A candidate information session for people interested in running for the School Board will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at the District Service Center. It will include information on South Washington County Schools and on being a board member.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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