School Board candidate profile: Wayne Johnson
A walking decision helped Wayne Johnson decide to run for the District 833 School Board.
Johnson said he and other parents are upset about the School Board decision to set middle school and high school walking distances at 2 miles instead of 1.5 miles. Parents don’t want their 15-year-olds walking that far, he said.
“I want to get involved in the decisions and bring my ability for big-picture thinking,” he said.
Johnson serves on the Cottage Grove Planning Commission and has two children in District 833 schools. He said he has been exposed to issues within the district through his wife’s former job as a Community Education youth coordinator and his experience serving on the Community Education Advisory Council.
Johnson said he his “torn” about the district levy because he believes the funding is needed, but that is because of actions by the current School Board.
“I’m concerned about the current board and decisions being made,” he said. For instance, he said, the district’s cash balance is higher than it needs to be.
Johnson said he has talked with parents who do not trust the School Board, and there is a belief that the board increased the student walking distance in order to get more funding through the local levy. He also said that walking distance change might not have happened if more School Board members had children in the district now.
“I want to be part of a board that really starts relating to the community,” he said.
Johnson said the concept of incorporating technology into how students learn is great, but he worries that the district’s pilot iPad program at five schools this fall “was a little too rushed.” He is concerned about long-term costs and said before approving an expansion he would want to see results of this year’s pilot program.