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District 833 School Board candidate profile: Steve Lagoon

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Steve Lagoon said he is ready to use his classroom experience on the South Washington County School Board.

Lagoon, one of seven candidates seeking three seats in the Nov. 8 election, is in his fourth year as a substitute teacher and paraprofessional.

"I think I know what will work and what won't work," Lagoon said.

One area Lagoon said he would focus on is changing how schools handle chronically disruptive students. He said he would like to see a "three strikes" policy whereby after considerable warning any student who continues to be disruptive must complete that semester's work through online courses at home.

"Some people just need a kick in the rear end and because we don't have enough ways to provide discipline we're sort of stuck with the student," he said. "They're disrupting it for all the kids who want to learn."

Lagoon said there are ways District 833 could better use paraprofessionals. Kids with special needs deserve close attention, he said, but not all students with behavioral issues need constant assistance. He suggested grouping students with a paraprofessional.

The district would need fewer paraprofessionals.

"There's real cost savings," he said.

That is the first area Lagoon said he would look to cut spending. He also suggested reviewing secondary classes to decide if some could be eliminated or offered in fewer sections.

Lagoon has two children at Armstrong Elementary School, a building that could have been affected by a proposed expansion of the Spanish immersion program. He said he does not have a problem offering a popular program, but does not want it expanded at the expense of neighborhood schools.

Before expanding the program, he said he would want to determine whether there is long-term demand and research whether it is beneficial to students after they finish school. Also, he would want to determine whether it costs more; if so, those parents should help pay the difference. Lastly, if Spanish immersion is going to be a long-term program, the district should find a central location for it.

As the federal No Child Left Behind law is reauthorized, Lagoon said School Board members should advocate for local control, fewer mandates and less standardized testing.

Because of the economic downturn, Lagoon said he would oppose renewing an existing school levy or seeking a referendum for additional property tax revenue.

Lagoon lived in Woodbury before moving to Cottage Grove last year.

He was a GOP candidate for the Legislature in the 1990s, a Woodbury City Council candidate and has run for District 833 School Board. After those unsuccessful bids, Lagoon said he stepped back for several years.

"I'm taking it very seriously this time around," he said. "I'm working real hard at gaining the voters' confidence."

Steve Lagoon

Age: 48

City: Cottage Grove

Education: Bachelor's degree and master's degree in theology; Northwestern College, St. Paul

Occupation: Substitute teacher/paraprofessional. Attending Northwestern College for master's degree in divinty

Family: Wife, Sherry; five children, ages 8 to adult

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

(651) 459-7600