Ice cream social allows residents to learn about school board candidates

Bruce Tanlim

Members of the Ames community vying for Ames Public School Board positions were asked questions by Ames residents at a public forum Tuesday.

The Ames Public Library hosted an outdoor ice-cream social followed by an indoor open forum. The forum was co-sponsored with the Ames Progressive Alliance, who also organized the social. The forum had a turnout of over 160 people, said attendees.

The candidates, Nathan Buss, incumbent president Lucas Deardorff, Alisa Frandsen, Lewis Rosser, and school board director Rodney Briggs were publicly asked questions from local group representatives who wished to ask questions at the forum, as well as three questions from the Ames Progressive Alliance.

“Thank you to the Ames Progressive Alliance for hosting this forum tonight. It’s important for our community to have these venues to hear our candidates and their visions for the Ames Community School District,” Deardorff said.

The inquiring groups were the Ames Bicycle Coalition, Ames Emergency Residence Project, Youth and Shelter Services, Decoding Dyslexia Iowa, A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy, Ames Education Association and Spectrum, Ames High School’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual organization.

Among the questions posed was the potential for CyRide to play a role in the commuting of primary and secondary school students, what the school board would and could do to promote and protect student cyclists and what the school board could do to increase student investment in school, along with protecting students from possibly dropping out of high school.

Regarding changes and improvements that would require changes to city infrastructure, candidates reminded the inquiring representative that such changes would be in the jurisdiction of the Ames City Council.

However, many candidates said that if elected they would attempt to convince the council of the necessity of infrastructure changes.

“There are some things we can do and can’t do regarding infrastructure. We are working on the Dotson road extension which was recently done to make sure there was a path across there for bikes,” Deardorff said. “I think it’s very important to have kids, as Nathan said, to exercise as much as possible.”

Additionally, the audience had the opportunity to write their own questions on cards, two of which were selected by the Ames Progressive Alliance and presented to the candidates, the rest of which were copied and sent to the candidates to be read later.

The school board presidential election is slated for Sept. 8.