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Want to run for school board? Find out what you're in for

The Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District wants to give potential school board members a chance to find out what they might be getting themselves into.

The filing period for this fall's District 196 School Board election opens Aug. 25, and new superintendent Jane Berenz plans to take a little time next week to let anyone interested in the job just what being a school board member means. Berenz will use the meeting to share information about the district and answer questions from potential candidates.

"The idea is to make sure everyone has information and everyone has a chance to ask questions," said Tony Taschner, the district's communication specialist.

During the last school board election, in 2007, a candidate filed, then withdrew a short time later, citing family circumstances. Taschner said Berenz hopes to avoid situations like that this time around.

Candidates have 48 hours after the end of the filing period to withdraw from the race. Any candidate still in the race after that date will appear on the ballot.

Current board member Rob Duchscher said believes it's important for candidates to know what kind of commitment they're making if they are elected. He's seen too many candidates whose hearts are in the right place when they file their affidavit of candidacy but who don't understand how much work it takes to be a board member.

"What I think people don't get is, quite frankly, the overall responsibility of the position. I've seen people run. Their intentions are good, but they don't have a concept of what the responsibility is. The time commitment," Duchscher said. "I spent years on site council through Rosemount Middle School and I was still semi-unprepared."

Twice-monthly school board meetings are only part of the job. There are also committee meetings, and there's a lot of reading just to get ready for those meetings, Duchscher said. He said the job is too important to leave to people who are not ready to do the necessary work.

"If you do get someone elected that is new, that's not a bad thing, but if their lack of knowledge of the school district and what makes it tick is so limited, it really is a burden getting them up to speed," Duchscher said.

There are three seats available in this year's election. The terms of Art Coulson, Mike Roseen and Kevin Sampers all expire at the end of the year. All are four-year terms.

The filing period for this November's election ends at 5 p.m. Sept. 8. Candidates for school board must be eligible to vote, at least 21 years old as of Jan. 4, 2010, a resident of the school district at least 30 days before the election; and not be registered as a sex offender.

Would-be candidates can file affidavits from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday in the district office, 3455 153rd St. W in Rosemount. There is a $2 filing fee, but the fee can be waived if the candidate presents a petition with at least 500 signatures of eligible voters. Five or more candidates may draft a candidate by filing an application on that candidate's behalf. The candidate must sign the application to indicate a willingness to run.

The meeting for potential candidates will take place at 6 p.m. Aug. 19 at the district office.