Bettendorf group wins 4 open seats on school board

Bettendorf group wins all 4 open seats on school board
Published: Nov. 8, 2023 at 11:21 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 8, 2023 at 11:23 PM CST
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BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - Typically in local elections you have one individual running for one seat. However, for four candidates running in the school board election in Bettendorf, they ran as a team, and won.

Ryan McGivern, Paul Castro, Kevin Freking and Patrick Larkin all won seats on the board in Tuesday’s election. They ran their campaign as a group called “Clean Sweep” while seeking individual positions. Castro was an incumbent while the others will become new members.

“We do not always agree, but we are able to find consensus,” said Larkin, in TV6′s Bettendorf school board forum, “and that is vital in today’s polarizing environment.” He added, “we will lower temperature board meetings, we will increase transparency and important that you will be listened to.”

This comes at a time when local politics has become as heated as it is on the national level, particularly on school boards.

Political science professor, Tim Hagle, says remote learning amid pandemic restrictions made parents pay closer attention to what is happening in their children’s schools.

“Parents had a lot more information in terms of what was going on in their schools and so they started paying closer attention which, in general, is a good thing,” said Hagle, “Although sometimes it caused a certain amount of friction perhaps between parents and school boards and things like that.”

Hagle believes this friction is what led to candidates to come up with new ways to draw attention to their campaigns, including banding together for multiple seats.

“What they’re doing is they’re putting the the goal of getting rid of some of the people on the school board they don’t like ahead of their individual desire to be on that school board.” said Hagle, “So even if one of the other members of the team makes it and some one other person doesn’t, that may be a good thing.”

Hagle says combining names together during a campaign may bring more visibility to their campaigns and raise voter turnout.

It worked for the “Clean Sweep” group.