DEA introduces recommended candidates for 2017 school board elections


Kelly Snawerdt

Davenport candidate Rooney Blackwell speaks about his goals for the district if elected.

Emma Bernick, Media Editor

On Tuesday, Aug. 22, the Davenport Education Association (DEA) held a press conference to introduce the recommended candidates for the Bettendorf and Davenport School Board elections. The meeting began at 4:30 p.m. and was held at the Iowa State Education Association (ISEA) Quad Cities regional office.

There are six people competing for one of three positions in Davenport.

Three candidates were chosen by the DEA to be sponsored through a selective process of questionnaires and face-to-face interviews. The recommended candidates are Rodney Blackwell, Allison Beck and Bruce Potts.

The candidates sat at the front to share their ideas with a public audience. Blackwell, who has a son who graduated from North High School’s dual enrollment program, spoke first.

“I truly believe that giving children a proper education is one of the greatest things that we can do for kids,” Blackwell said. “We are facing some difficult times right now, but I believe that it is going to take parents, teachers and administrators to work together to solve a problem that I think is solvable. When it comes to children’s education, we always find that there is no money in the bank. Things are going to have to change, and I want to be that change.”

Beck, a paleontologist and biology teacher at Blackhawk College, shared her ideas next. She said that she has an invested interest in Davenport education because she has a child starting third grade in the district.

“The reason I am coming into this election is that I think some things need to change. One of them being I think there needs to be more women in elected offices and so I hope to be one of them,” Beck explained. “Also, I think that the way the collective bargaining law has worked out in the state of Iowa is a shame. I’m in a union and I know how important it is that we have strong unions. I would like to do everything in my power to make sure that the current contract Davenport teachers have stays as long as it can.”

Lastly, retired Davenport employee Potts introduced himself. He spent 42 years working in junior high schools. Potts taught at Sudlow for 11 years, became principal at Smart for 15 years and then finished the last 16 years of his career as principal at Sudlow.

“Obviously in Davenport we have a money problem. It seems to me we have had a money crunch for the last decade. We need to continue to push the state to provide the funds that are rightfully ours. I look at it as a moral obligation on the state. I’d like to think that my experience working in the schools will allow me to bring something to the board table that might not be there…that’s why I’m running. To me, being on the school board is a public service,” Potts explained.

Davenport and Bettendorf School Board elections are set for Tuesday, Sept. 12, with polls running from 7:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m..