Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Wayzata school board endorsements

"Who are you voting for in the school board election?"

Residents of the Wayzata school district, many of whom (us included) intentionally moved into the district so their kids could enroll in Wayzata Public Schools, will again have some good choices in this year's school board election. It's a large field: nine candidates vying for three open seats. How to narrow the field?

I asked all nine candidates to respond to three questions about the upcoming bonding referendum which would fund a new elementary school and a major expansion of the high school, accountability for curriculum, and the state of Minnesota eliminating basic skills testing for students and teachers. Returning the questionnaire were (in alphabetical order): Derek Diesen, Sarah Johansen, David Lloyd, Chris McCullough, Bill Pritchard, and Ted Victor. You can view their responses in my posts from last week. I hope their answers will inform your vote. Candidates Andrea Cuene, Dan Haugen, and Phil Napier did not respond.

The value of published endorsements depends on who is doing the endorsing: are they people you trust and respect, or are they just political supporters? I found some consensus among three outgoing and former school board members whom I trust: Susan Gaither, John Moroz, and Greg Rye. I was pleasantly surprised to also find an endorsement from our kids' former principal at Birchview Elementary School, Dr. Tom Koch. Dr. Koch was well-liked and respected during his tenure (and he had a tough act to follow in current Wayzata High School principal Mike Trewick).

The individuals in this group endorsed one, two, or three candidates in letters to the editor published in the Plymouth Sun Sailor newspaper. Their consensus was to support Chris McCullough, Ted Victor, and Sarah Johansen. All three of these candidates have already served this district for many years, including the Citizens' Financial Advisory Council (CFAC) for Victor and McCullough, the Citizens' Facilities Task Force for McCullough and Johansen, and the Legislative Action Committee (LAC) for Johansen. Their knowledge, experience, and commitment to the district would enable each of them to hit the ground running to help the Wayzata schools meet the financial, facilities, and academic challenges it will face in the years ahead.