There are eight names on the list of candidates for the Moline school board, and only three will earn seats on the board. He might not win, but pay attention to Bryn Lawrence. He's a first-year student at Augustana College running for the board of a district in which he was a student last year. He even used high-school graduation money to buy 50 yard signs.

And while he doesn't have a lot of the answers to questions about budgets or board policy, he has something nobody else can claim: a student's perspective. He's participated in two forums with his fellow candidates and said he brings something different to the race: "They really had an adult view. I had a student view."

He doesn't know the nuances of the school budget or labor negotiations. When asked about where he might trim the district budget if that became necessary, he said, "I don't really have any ideas of where we should start cutting." Of course, that type of detailed knowledge is not a requirement, but having some ideas helps.

Lawrence said the board would benefit from the addition of a younger point of view. He believes strongly in maintaining and building arts programs in schools, is concerned about bigotry and bullying, and wants to ensure that the district maintains a broad-based education instead of catering too much to the reading and math requirements of the No Child Left Behind law.

Lawrence said he doesn't feel like he needs to have all the answers - "I am one vote out of seven," he said - but believes that creative thinking can be applied to various problems. While the school district has cut back on vocational education, he said, those interested in that track could be allowed to take the computer-aided design portion of the pre-engineering program, he said. And the school board should find a way to let advanced students take "early bird" health class the way they're able to take "early bird" gym so they can take other courses.

Lawrence hasn't declared a major at Augustana but is certain he wants to remain active in politics, and he might focus his studies on political science.

He already has a good start. When asked to assess his chances, he acknowledged that he's running in a race with two incumbents along with at least two formidable opponents: a retired teacher and longtime leader of a teachers' union, and Bob Vogelbaugh, also known as Mr. Thanksgiving. But, he said, "I'm number three on the ballot."

For more information on Lawrence, visit (

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