When polls open at noon Tuesday, Sept. 12, Clarke Community School patrons will have the chance to elect three school board directors, but more importantly, they’ll be able to exercise a right that’s sat stagnant since 2013.
For the first time in four years, there are candidates running against each other for an open position on the board. Robin Galvez and Joshua Manternach, both of Osceola, will battle it out to see who will be Clarke’s next Director At-Large, a position left open when incumbent Gerard Linskens chose not to run for another term.
“After serving 8 years on this board, I will not run again. It will be time for someone else to serve,” said Linskens.
“I have a fairly vested interest in the district,” said Galvez. “I have two children who are enrolled in Clarke. One is an eighth grader and one is a fourth grader.”
Galvez has been a member of the Clarke Area Arts Council (CAAC) for 10 years, serving as both treasurer and secretary. She’s also served on several committees as part of Hormel Foods community outreach programs. Galvez has worked for the plant for 17 years.
She said once word got out that Linskens was leaving the Board, friends encouraged her to run.
“The only thing was that I started late,” said Galvez. “I had about a week to get the fifty signatures, but I got them fairly quickly.”
“One of the main things I bring is another set of perspective,” said Manternach. Business Banker at Great Western Bank and 2007 Clarke graduate.
Manternach’s wife is a teacher who has taught in three districts in the state. He offers an insider’s view of what’s happening in education across Iowa. Manternach, his wife and two children returned to Osceola a year ago.
“It was always in our five-year plan to move back home,” said Manternach. “This was always where we decided we wanted to raise our kids.”
Local elections, he said, are among the most important ways for people to get involved in the community.
“Really, what I’m looking forward to [is to] dive in deep and make sure we’re doing the right thing for the kids,” he said.
Dena White, Director of District No. 2, and Joseph Deutsch, Director of District No. 3, are both running uncontested.
More unopposed candidates
In the Murray Community School District Regular School Election, constituents have the option of voting for no more than two candidates. Incumbents Trevor Robins and John Siefkas are running.
Depending on which Community College district a voter lives in, they’ll be able to vote for Zach Gunsolley of District No. 6, and Jerry Smith, District No. 3. Both candidates are running unopposed.
It’s a situation the Clarke County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Jan White finds frustrating, but she said, this is one reason the laws regarding elections have changed. Beginning next year, city and school voting will take place at the same time on the same ballot. It will be a bit of a challenge at first for local governments, but White said recent years have provided a few chances to practice.
SWCC’s Six Cent Levy
One measure that’s up for consideration is whether the Six Cent Levy imposed by the Southwestern Community College (SWCC) Board of Directors in Adair, Adams, Taylor, Montgomery, Ringgold, Decatur, Clarke, Union, Madison, Lucas, Pottawattamie, Wayne and Page counties should be extended. The levy has been in place for 10 years and mimics agreements in place at all 15 of Iowa’s community colleges. All the funds raised, by law, must go toward classroom equipment.
The town of McIntire made history last month when it held an election where not a single voter turned up. Thankfully, voter turnout for Clarke County elections hasn’t dropped that low, but to make the vote count, people do have to show up.
According to the Clarke County Commissioner of Elections, voting takes place from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 12. Residents in Liberty, Fremont, Osceola, Washington, Ward and Knox Townships will vote at the Eagles Building. Residents of Osceola 1st Ward, 2nd Ward, 3rd Ward and 4th Ward will vote at the Courthouse. Residents of the City of Woodburn, Jackson and Franklin Townships, along with any Lucas County residents who are part of Clarke Community School District, will vote at Woodburn Legion Hall. Residents of Green Bay Township and Decatur County residents who are part of Clarke Community School District will vote at the Weldon Community Center.
Individuals with concerns or an inability to vote during these times should contact the Clarke County Auditor’s office at 641-342-3315.