St. Louis Park school board asks applicants zero questions about academics

The St. Louis Park School Board is looking to fill a recent vacancy and is asking applicants for four pieces of information — confirmation they are an eligible candidate, their connection to the district, their interest in serving on the board, and their impressions and/or opinions regarding the district’s racial equity commitment.

Source: St. Louis Park School Board

The board position became available early January when then-board member Laura McClendon submitted her resignation. Based on state law, the vacancy must be filled, but can be done so however the school board chooses. According to Board Chair Anne Casey:

We encourage all members of the St. Louis Park community to consider applying to serve on the school board. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to board members if you have questions or would like to know more about the role and responsibilities of the board.

A replacement will be selected this month to serve until the November election, with the board indicating that it is their hope the appointee will run to serve the remainder of the term (through Dec. 31, 2023) and then for a four-year term beginning January 2024.

The school board unanimously approved the “2020-2025 Strategic Plan for Racial Equity Transformation” on March 8, 2021. According to the document, the strategic plan was developed in response to the following question:

What is needed for the thorough and dramatic change of Racial Equity Transformation to occur in St. Louis Park Public Schools; where current, racist systems are abolished to build new, anti-racist systems and structures with all community stakeholders to create student-centered schools with inspired and empowered outcomes regardless of race and accountability measures for students and adults by the end of 2025?

Action steps to improve academic achievement and remedy learning loss from COVID-19 were not detailed out. According to the Minnesota Department of Education’s Report Card, student performance districtwide in both math and reading has been in decline since at least 2017.