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City, district will take would-be Farmington candidates to school

Ever wondered what it might take to become one of Farmington’s city or school leaders? A workshop later this month can help answer some of those questions.

Farmington Community Education is partnering with the city of Farmington to offer a workshop to anyone thinking of running for local office, be it city council or school board.

This workshop isn’t new, ISD 192 community education director Heidi Cunningham said. Community ed has held a similar workshop for school board members in the past, and it has been well received by both interested residents and those who wanted to run for school board.

A while back, the topic came up while Cunningham was talking to Farmington city administrator David McKnight. As the city of Farmington also has elections coming up this year, the two decided to broaden the scope of the workshop to include information about both of Farmington’s elected bodies.

“I think the neat thing is, it gives people an opportunity, if they were thinking about running, to get some really good information before they file,” Cunningham said.

But the event is also open to residents just looking to be educated voters.

“Even if you’re not interested in running, you can still come to learn. You can come and listen and ask questions,” Cunningham said. “What is the role of these positions? What, as a citizen, can I expect from the people we have elected?”

The workshop will be broken into segments. The first part will include general information, where city and school district representatives talk about the differences and similarities between the roles of a school board member versus those of a city council member.

The groups will then break off so those interested in the council positions can learn more about the city’s requirements, and potential school board candidates can learn more about those roles.

“Both the city and the school district have roles and responsibilities and things like strategic plans. But when we get into the budget planning, it’s totally different because the school district’s fiscal year is different than the city’s,” Cunningham said.

The time commitment required for holding an elected office will also be covered, because many times people think local officials only get together a couple of times a month to hold a meeting. In reality, both school board members and city council members are required to go through training sessions, and they all serve on multiple committees at the school, city or community level.

The Public Office Informational Workshop will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, in the Community Education Center of Meadowview Elementary School. There is no registration for the event, Cunningham said, because planners want residents to feel free to come without having to feel like their presence means they do intend to file for office. There is no charge for the workshop.

“The thing I like about it is, the city and school district just continue to work more and more together. It just made sense for us. We both have elections, so why not do this together?” Cunningham said.

Filing for office for the Farmington City Council and the School District 192 Board of Education opens the same day, July 29, and will go through Aug. 12.

City council seats currently held by Christy Jo Fogarty and Jason Bartholomay are up for election. Each carries a four year term. For more information email city of Farmington administrative assistant Cindy Muller at, or call 651-680-6803.

Three school board seats up for election this year. They are held by Tera Lee, Brian Treakle and Melissa Sauser. All three are four-year terms. For more information, call District 192 at 651-463-5000.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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