At Restore Minnesota, we work to restore biblical leadership community by community. This is a great story about how a group of concerned parents mobilized to change the makeup of the Forrest Lake school board.
Julie Stream, a parent concerned about Forrest Lake School District became an activist to change the makeup of the Forrest Lake School Board. Julie became concerned about the curriculum when her children were forced to stay home during the COVID lock down. She witnessed the woke curriculum that was being delivered to her children. Julie became active in curriculum committees to no avail. All the committee recommendations were shot down by the school board. It became clear that the path forward was to change the school board.
The majority of the school board members were DFL people who were not able to get elected in other offices in the community. Forest Lake is predominately conservative. A group of conservative Christians joined together to recruit and support conservative candidates for the school board. They supported three candidates for the school board and two of them won.
What did it take to get this done? First the local group got connected with the Minnesota Parent Alliance. https://minnesotaparents.org/
The first thing they had to do was to identify candidates. The challenge is that the most likely candidates; parents with children in the school system, are consumed with working, paying the bills, and supporting their kids in sports and other school activities. So, who does that leave? Conservative community business owners may be concerned about the impact on their business if they become outspoken. Recruiting candidates is the hardest part of the initiative.
What does being a board member entail in terms of time commitments? There are school board meetings usually two per month. There are committee meetings, and a board member is usually assigned to be a liaison to school. The time commitment would be at least on night per week. Some districts compensate at $5,000.00 year.
Once you recruit one or more candidates you must help get them elected. If there is a conservative already on the board it is very helpful to connect with them and learn how they got elected. The MPA has training for candidates and purchased some Facebook ads.
Candidates had their own websites, Facebook pages and signs. The message was “Let’s get back to the basics, academic excellence, parental rights, fiscal responsibility”.
They ran three candidates and shared flyers and volunteers. Each candidate raised their own funds and had their own bank account. One interesting observation is that the candidate with the least name recognition got the most votes.
The Forrest Lake School District is within Chisago County. The Restore Minnesota Chisago Community Action Team’s Education Task Force assisted in helping to get the candidates elected.
How can we help?
The first thing we can do is take inventory of the school boards in our county. Here is a great resource.
From hear you can identify which school boards you need to work on. Next you need to locate the website for each of the districts in your county. The district website will have a section on the school board. You should be able to find which board members are up for election in the next two years. From there you will need to research each board member to determine their position on key issues. Then determine how many candidates you will need to run.
Then start recruiting!