Panel decides Tass can be on Mason City School Board ballot (AUDIO)

MASON CITY — A three-member panel Wednesday afternoon has ruled that a candidate for November’s Mason City School Board election will be allowed on the ballot, but not in the race that she intended to run in.

Cristy Tass wanted to file to run for a full four-year term on the board as indicated on her affidavit of candidacy, but her nominating petitions indicated that she was running for an unexpired term on the ballot.

The panel, composed of board president Lorrie Lala, board member Katherine Koehler and acting board secretary Ramie Strand, voted unanimously to allow Tass on the ballot running for the unexpired term.

Tass told the panel that it was a simple mistake in checking the boxes on both the affidavit and petitions dealing with whether she was running to fill a vacancy or not.   “I made a mistake. I’m sure it’s going to cost me running for the four-year term, but I’m questioning if a small clerical error is more important than my desire to serve the community school district, and also to all these people who signed for me to run, I just want to honor that as well.”

Prior to their vote, Lala said the panel decided they had to honor what was on the nomination petitions.   “We just decided it wasn’t enough to keep you off the ballot. We just couldn’t do the four-year term because your petition papers, everyone signed that you were running for a two-year term, so we’ll honor those signatures. That’s why I want to stick with that, the two-year term.”

Tass after the meeting told KGLO News that she was satisfied with the panel’s decision.

The unexpired term is on the ballot due to the resignation of Kristine Cassel last fall after serving less than a year of her term. Iowa law allowed the board to appoint someone to fill that position until the next school board election. Peterson Jean-Pierre has been serving in that role and will face Tass in the election for that seat. 

You can hear the full audio of Wednesday’s objection hearing via the audio player below



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