Nov 8, 2023 - News

Des Moines' suburban school boards go blue

Illustration of a green apple surrounded by red apples.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Metro suburban voters went blue in Tuesday night's school board elections after Democratic-backed candidates swept in Ankeny, Johnston and West Des Moines.

Why it matters: They'll help determine how closely districts follow the Legislature's new sweeping education reform laws.

Driving the news: In Ankeny, Democrat-backed candidates Shelly Northway, Amber Romans and incumbents Amy Tagliareni and Katie Claeys won seats, according to unofficial results from the Polk County Auditor's Office.

  • Stephanie Gott, who was backed by conservatives and was endorsed by the Iowa State Education Association, also won.

In Johnston, Jason Arnold, Lya Williams and incumbents Jennifer Chamberland and Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher won.

  • In West Des Moines, Mike Andreski, Jeff Hicks, Jill Caton Johnson and Elizabeth Larson took seats.

The bottom line: Some of these candidates are backed by progressive groups like One Iowa Action, which opposes newly passed legislation requiring students to use bathrooms corresponding with their sex at-birth and removing books containing sex acts from libraries.

  • The win means there may be more discretion used when implementing these laws in schools.
  • Their overwhelming support may signal voter backlash against the Legislature's recent laws.
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