[Q&A] Mental Health Redesign in Iowa

Iowa Department of Human Services

Health and Human Service spending by state government dwarfs all other fiscal priorities, including education. Annual Medicaid spending in Iowa tops $3.5 billion annually with Iowa taxpayer contributions to the program coming in at well over $1 billion annually. Continue reading

Wolves at the Gate

Wolves at the Gate in Iowa

From the Occupy Movement to the Tea Party I have found Iowans are very sincere in their desire to fix broke governance. This also includes the self-named Socialist, Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians I’ve talked to. Continue reading

[Q&A] Rick Kozin, Polk County Health Dept Director


Less than two decades ago Brooklyn native Rick Kozin moved to Iowa to become a community organizer with the Iowa Citizen Action Network (ICAN). Today he serves as the Director of the Polk County Health Department.  Continue reading

2015 El Communicador DSM School Board Endorsements

By Al Perez

I had the wonderful privilege of spending two full days with very respected colleagues in our community. Our task was to interview and endorse candidates running for school board seats here in Des Moines and the metro. As the rookie to this endorsement panel, it certainly gave me an up close and personal perspective into each candidate running for a seat. Every candidate was given a rigorous and thorough questionnaire of 24 questions in advance. No aspect was left out of question. From personal vision to knowledge of budgets and issues such as Iowa Core. As a Latino and leader in the community, I had the humble task of putting questions that focus on the growing diverse cultures coming into our school system. I focused much of my questioning on the growing needs of the Latino population and what each candidate had in mind for meeting a large booming population. Continue reading

2015 Iowa Bystander School Board Candidate Endorsement Criteria

Ranking Values 1 through 5 for each Criteria

Vision. 1 2 3 4 5

Can articulate rationale for seeking the office and what needs to be accomplished.

Commitment. 1 2 3 4 5

Demonstrates experiential passion for our kids, schools, and community.

Knowledge. 1 2 3 4 5

Displays an understanding of educational relationships between Federal, State, and local governments. Shows a familiarity with finances. Understands Issues that impact student learning.

Role of a School Board and Board members. 1 2 3 4 5

Knows governing from micro-managing. Understands the relationships with superintendent, community, staff, and students and how the district’s credibility is impacted.

2015 Iowa Bystander School Board Election Endorsements

By Jonathan Narcisse, Editor & Publisher

The Iowa Bystander endorsement process consists of two steps and utilizes an objective set of criteria to determine our endorsements.

The first thing required of candidates is the completion of a 24 question pre-interview questionnaire. Following completion of the questionnaire a 25 minute interview is conducted with the questionnaire serving as the foundation of the line of questioning. Continue reading

Interview & Endorsement Panel

Iowa Bystander School Board Election Interviews

Iowa Bystander, founded in 1894, has a long and celebrated legacy of impact in the area of education.

A significant part of that legacy is our bi-annual coverage of school board elections. We feel our approach truly allows candidates the opportunity to fully express themselves and allows our readers the opportunity to get up close and personal with their candidates.

We begin our process by inviting all candidates in contested elections in our seven reader zones to answer a 24 question pre-interview questionnaire. Continue reading