Joe Tatalovich, who is the chairman of the legislative action committee for St. Louis Park schools, announced his candidacy for the school board on Thursday.
Tatalovich will officially file on Aug. 2 when the filing period opens, according to his campaign website. He is the first person to formally announce an intention to run. Four school board members are set to be elected on Nov. 8.
Beyond his role as chairman of SLP ICare, Tatalovich served as chair of the Vote Yes Campaign in 2008 in support of the district's levy, and he has been a tutor at various St. Louis Park Schools since 2005.
“I believe that strong public schools create strong, successful citizens, which in turn create a vibrant community,” he said in a press release. “My volunteer experience in the classrooms helps me understand students’ needs. The various leadership roles I have filled have demonstrated the importance of engaging community members.”
It will be Tatalovich's second run at school board, following an unsuccessful bid four years ago.
"I was a little green then," he said in a phone interview. "Since then, I've gotten a lot more experienced in the schools."
Tatalovich said he thinks the most important issue facing St. Louis Park schools right now is dealing with reduced K-12 funding from the state, particularly in light of the budget deal that ended the state shutdown earlier this month. That deal will further delay payments to schools, which will cause some districts to borrow.
The candidate said a strained budget was the reason Cedar Manor Elementary closed last year—a move that triggered a .
"Last year was a very difficult one," Tatalovich said. "There were some growing pains."
Tatalovich said working to smooth out the wrinkles from the reorganization would be a big goal of his.
"The challenge in St. Louis Park is building communities within the schools and within the larger school system," he said.
Tatalovich works as a medical device engineer, and he said that his background would help him be a strong proponent of integrating technology into the classroom.
"I think that's something I can play an active role in," he said.
Tatalovich is married with two children, and he lives in the Minikahda Vista neighborhood of St. Louis Park.