Phil Hemingway announces bid for School Board


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A local parent and activist has once again decided try his hand at landing a seat on the Iowa City School Board.

Iowa City resident Phil Hemingway, who ran in the 2011 election, announced his second bid in a Monday press release. In the release, he contended that many current board members have lost sight of the parents and students who help make up Iowa’s fifth largest school district.

Even with a two-year gap period between campaigns, Hemingway said, his campaign principles and his broader goals for the district have remained unchanged.

Although the schools in the district continue to be ranked among the best at the state and national level, he said, the voice of the public has been lost among new construction projects, school closings, and current board member input.

“They’re transparent as a brick wall,” he said about the board members. “They say, Give us the money, and we can do these great things; I think there’s an honesty issue there.”

Hemingway said under current leadership, fiduciary responsibilities have been lost, the district budget is poorly managed, physical-plant employees report for outside architects and planning firms, and the safety committee is anything but.

If elected, he said, he would bring back the recently terminated home-building program that gives high-school students the opportunity to work on-site at home and business construction projects, while expanding it to the junior-high level.

“I think our students are hungry for opportunities to be creative and work with their hands,” he said. “There are many on the board who look at that as a failure and not as a success. “

Hemingway also said he plans on keeping current neighborhood schools intact, save for the potential for complete remodeling or reconstruction efforts.

He said he will reuse his old yard signs from 2011 and will not seek private or public monetary handouts.

“I have not taken money from anyone nor will I,” he said. “I need voters, not money. This is a real grass-roots effort.”

Calls made to Superintendent Steve Murley seeking comment on Hemingway’s campaign and criticism of the board were not immediately returned Monday evening.

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