Two school board candidates running for District 6, which covers all of Southwest Minneapolis south of Lake Street, are reconvening at Justice Page Middle School on Sunday morning, May 5, to determine which candidate will get the DFL endorsement. At the citywide DFL convention on April 21 neither candidate received enough votes to earn the nomination. A candidate needs 60% of the votes for the DFL endorsement.

In the first round of voting on April 21, candidate Greta Callahan, the current president of the district’s teacher’s union, received 56% of the votes, short of the 60% threshold needed to earn a party endorsement. Lara Bergman, an alum and parent of students in the Minneapolis Public Schools, received 42% of the votes. A vote for “no endorsement” was taken but failed with 42% of the delegates voting against making an endorsement. A majority vote is needed for a “no endorsement” vote to pass.

By the time the third round of voting took place, where Callhan and Bergman received similar vote totals, the building reservation had run out and delegates were forced to hold a vote outside of the building.

“We got a really late start,” Callahan said about the April 21 convention. “We were the only contested race and a reason why a lot of people were there. So for us to not even get on stage and start our speeches until after [6 p.m.], I believe all of us felt that same level of frustration.”

The Minneapolis DFL convention started at 2 p.m. and the political party took care of other business, such as electing a new DFL chair, prior to addressing the district school board races. With the District 6 school board candidate voting wrapping up after 8 p.m., the entire process took over six hours.

“There were people in tears because they were in pain. I saw elders that were sitting in chairs, even though it wasn't very comfortable. I saw kids that were overwhelmed,” Bergman said. “You're out in the dark in this crowd of people, and that just didn't feel like the kind of democracy that I want to see.”

The newly elected Minneapolis DFL Chair Conrad Zbikowski said the party is exploring ways to make future DFL conventions better experiences for all attendees.

"First is through proposed rules that can be adopted by attendees. Second is amendments to the Minnesota DFL Constitution that codify similar reforms for all municipal party conventions,”  Zbikowski said. “Regardless of the path we take with our partners, we will be moving forward on a set of reforms to improve the experience and make conventions quicker."

Despite the time commitment, Callahan said there is importance in the DFL endorsement process.

“Having a democratic process for anything, especially when it comes to elections and endorsements is obviously critical,” Callahan said. “This matters if you're a true DFLer. We show up to endorse and that endorsement means a lot.”

Bergman said she remains concerned about the endorsement process and is looking forward to having more conversations with people.

“I'm participating in the endorsement process, because my values align with the DFL and I would be proud to receive the endorsement,” Bergman said. “I have seen and I've struggled with how exclusionary this process is that I want to just include as many people as possible in the conversation.”

Bergman said she hopes that if the delegates on Sunday cannot get to a 60% vote on one candidate that they vote for “no endorsement.” Callahan said on April 21 she will suspend her campaign if Bergman receives the endorsement. Bergman said she will not suspend her campaign if Callahan receives the endorsement.