Cedar Rapids $220M school bond fails, 3 school board members hold on

Metro High School Cedar Rapids. Google Maps screenshot

By Amie Rivers
November 7, 2023

Though the largest school bond in state history failed, three out of four sitting Cedar Rapids school board members kept their seats, with only the District 4 seat changing hands.

Seven board members serve staggered four-year terms. Four of those (two at-large as well as the District 1 and District 4 seats) were open this year, and all four incumbents in those seats ran for re-election.

Nearly 24% of registered voters turned out in Linn County.

Largest school bond vote in history

The $220 million bond referendum—the largest in state history—definitely brought people to the polls Tuesday.

No votes were the largest side, at 13,057 (61%), with 8,213 voting yes (38.4%).

The money would have gone toward building a new middle school, renovating Franklin Middle School, and more; read the details here.

District 4

In the District 4 race, Kaitlin Byers was the lone challenger to win, with 9,272 votes (43.3%) to incumbent Dexter Merschbrock’s 8,090 votes (37.8%).

Merschbrock was endorsed by the local teachers’ union as well as by LGBTQ advocacy group One Iowa.

At-large race

In the at-large race, both incumbents cruised to easy wins.

Current vice president of the board Cindy Garlock took the top vote, with 10,229 votes (23.9%), while incumbent board member Jen Neumann was right behind, with 9,553 votes, or 22.3%.

Both were endorsed by the local teachers’ union.

Richard A. David garnered 4,862 votes (11.4%), Barclay Woerner got 4,834 (11.3%), and Donald R. Taylor received 4,087 votes (9.5%).

David and Woerner were endorsed by Moms for Liberty.

David has used his campaign Facebook page to show support for SF 496 and book bans. He also used his page to falsely accuse the Cedar Rapids School District of collaborating with Planned Parenthood to secretly provide kids with hormone replacement therapy.

Woerner’s wife, Janice, is a Linn County Moms for Liberty member, and Woerner also accused the school district of secretly helping provide kids with hormone replacement therapy. Woerner supports book bans because he believes the “innocence of our children is no longer being protected as 30+ inappropriate books have been found in the libraries.”

District 1

In the District 1 race, incumbent David Tominsky won with 9,220 votes (43.1%) to Stacie Rae Johnson’s 8,079 votes (37.7%).

Tominsky was endorsed by the local teachers’ union.

  • Amie Rivers

    Amie Rivers is Starting Line's community editor, labor reporter and newsletter snarker-in-chief. Previously, she was an award-winning journalist at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier; now, she very much enjoys making TikToks and memes. Send all story tips and pet photos to [email protected] and sign up for our newsletter here.


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