Welcome to SPFE Elections Page. Here you will find information about SPFE endorsed candidates, our criteria for endorsement, upcoming screenings and voting resources. Election Day is Tuesday, November 2, 2021. No Excuses Absentee Voting (early voting) in Minnesota begins on Friday, September 17, 2021.
2021 SPFE School Board Endorsements
SPFE and TakeAction Screening Video
If you were unable to attend our joint screening, you can watch it here.
SPFE is proud to announce the following endorsements for School Board
2021 Regular Election
Our three endorsed candidates have unique areas of expertise that come together as strong advocates for educators, students, families and community members. Please support them in the upcoming DFL City Convention and the general election in November.
- James Farnsworth – James Farnsworth has extensive knowledge of board governance and has a comprehensive understanding of the role of the BOE. He is currently serving on the ethnic studies group, and has deep relationships with SPFE members.
- Halla Henderson – Halla Henderson will bring a deep understanding of co-governance and shared power to the SPPS Board of Education. Her strong relationships with youth, and understanding of the interconnected roles of elected officials means she will bring a much needed activist voice to the SPPS Board of Education.
- Uriah Ward – Uriah Ward has deep relationships with SPFE and Shares our theory of change and understanding of how to build power through organizing. He has a deep understanding of the challenges educators face – both in the classroom and in seeking full funding.
2021 Special Election
This year there will be a special election to complete the term of former SPPS Director Steve Marchese. Please support our endorsed candidate in the upcoming DFL City Convention and the November general election.
- Clayton Howatt – Clayton Howatt has deep relationships with SPFE members and a comprehensive understanding of the SPPS enrollment and budget. He has served on PTOs, worked to prevent the closure of Galtier, and formed Parents for Saint Paul Schools to focus on a charter school moratorium, partnering, with the Saint Paul NAACP, in this work.
SPFE and TakeAction Candidate Screening
SPFE and TakeAction will hold a joint school board candidate screening on Saturday, June 5, 11am – 2pm.
The joint SPFE/TakeAction Candidate Screening is open to all to attend. You must register to receive a link to participate via Zoom. The Zoom link will will be mailed to you on Saturday morning, by 10 am. The maximum capacity for this screening is 200.
Candidates must meet the SPFE minimum criteria in order to qualify to be screened. Candidates are screened at the same time. Although this has a forum “feel’, this is an official screening, and no campaigning will be permitted. Candidates will receive the questions in advance. Attendees will receive a link to view the questions and a link to provide feedback on the candidates. No questions from the chat will be posed to the candidates.
Immediately following the screening (1pm), candidates and their campaign staff (including volunteers) will be asked to leave. Attendees will be asked for feedback on the candidates. After feedback has been collected, SPFE and TakeAction will separate and consider their respective endorsements. Each organization will make recommendations to their respective boards, which will approve or decline recommendations. SPFE endorsements and the SPFE report card will be released at the same time. TakeAction has their own schedule, and it may not align with the SPFE timeline. Please note, SPFE and TakeAction staff do not have any say in who receives an endorsement.
Saint Paul DFL Precinct Caucuses
The 2021 Precinct Caucuses will be held virtually. SPFE members are encouraged to participate in their precinct caucuses and to become delegates to their Ward Convention and the 2021 City Convention. This is one of the most powerful ways to make your voice heard in the upcoming school board elections. To become a delegate you must complete the DFL Online Caucus Registration form.
SPFE has not endorsed any candidates at this time. Members are encouraged to caucus in a way that best reflects their values, and the values of SPFE. Responses to the SPFE Candidate Questionnaire can be found below.
SPFE and Education Minnesota Lobby Days
SPFE and Education Minnesota will be holding three joint Lobby Days. These are open to all members, however you must register to receive the Zoom Link.
- Tuesday, March 16 4:30-6pm, Senator Chamberlain (SD 38) and Senator Wiger (SD 43)
- Wednesday, March 17, 5:30-7pm, Senator Murphy (SD 64), Rep. Pinto (HD 64B), Rep. Hollins (HD 66B), and Rep. Thompson HD 67B)
- Thursday, March 18, 5-7pm, Rep. Moran (HD 65A)
2021 School Board Elections
On Tuesday, November 2, 2021 Saint Paul residents will vote in two separate Board of Education elections: one to complete the term of Director Marchese, and the regular election of three board seats.
There are currently eight declared candidates for school board, candidates have not yet been asked to signify if they are running in the special election or the regular election. Current candidates are: James Farnsworth, Chair Jeanelle Foster, Halla Henderson, Clayton Howatt, Jennifer McPherson, Zoe Sblendoriogiebel, Uriah Ward, and, Vice Chair Jim Vue
In order to qualify to participate in the SPFE endorsement process, candidates must meet our minimum criteria, and complete a candidate questionnaire. The requirement to shadow an educator for a day has been suspended due to safety concerns.
Chair Foster and Vice Chair Vue have declined to submit a questionnaire. You can review the remaining candidates responses, and our 2021 minimum criteria at the links below.
2021 SPFE Voter Guide
As educators and union members, we know how important it is to be informed on issues that matter to ourselves, our families, and our students. And we know how important it is to make our voices heard in the classroom, at the bargaining table, and in the voting booth.
The 2021 Board of Education elections, will be about values. Elected officials will need to make decisions about how we repair harm – the harm caused by a global pandemic, the harm caused by economic policies that have turned our public schools into the last social safety net, and the harm caused by white supremacy.
One way to begin to repair these harms is to elect candidates that share our values, and will make decisions with us, not for us. In 2021, we must have school board members that see educators as partners, not enemies.
SPFE’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) has created this guide to help our members track important dates, provide information on early voting, and share information about how our union makes endorsement recommendations.
Thank you for being a member, and thank you for being a voter.