The South Washington County School Board has five seats up for election in 2013.
Four members will be elected to four-year terms; one will be elected to fill the vacancy of the two-year term expiring Jan. 4, 2016.
There are 14 people vying for the four-year terms and three candidates for the two-year term. The election is Nov. 5.
Michael Edman, of Cottage Grove, is vying for a four-year term.
Check back on Patch for more candidate profiles.
Patch: Why are you running for school board?
Edman: My wife and I have young children and decisions the school board makes over the next four years will have a significant sustaining impact on the type of schools they attend and the quality of their education.
I will have the long term best interests of our district at the forefront of my decision making.
While I would be the youngest school board member with the youngest children, I would also be representing a significant demographic of this district; 30 something professionals with young kids.
Patch: What qualifications do you have?
Edman: I am an attorney, with an office in St. Paul (www.zmattorneys.com). As an attorney I am trained to view problems from all angles before making important decisions.
I am heavily involved in my community, surveying on the Cottage Grove Public Works Commission as vice-chair, the Cottage Grove Charter Commission, the Washington County Community Corrections Advisory Board, board member of a nonprofit Anu Family Services.
I have the professional skills and experience to be a respectful and successful school board member.
Patch: How are you voting on the three ballot questions? Why?
Edman: I support Question 1, if the operating levy is not renewed, the district would have to make cuts that could substantially harm the quality of the education provided, however, if elected, I would push the administration to attempt to budget forecast a budget that does not require an additional renewal.
While I support the district’s attempts to advertise the priority of spending for Question 2, I do not believe the district has met its burden to justify the spending increase it seeks.
I believe technology spending is supported, as well as savings increases, I do not find justification for safety expenditures nor do I support using referendums for staff funding. Because of this I will not support Question 2, but if elected I would work support coming back next year, with a slightly modified plan.
I agree this district is growing and that new schools will be needed. However, I do not support Question 3.
I respectfully disagree with the administration that this is the most effective method to obtaining land, I feel this weakens our bargaining power with prospective land owners. I also believe that the district needs to be more specific with its plans.
Citizens should know where the school is going to be built and what type of school it is going to be, before they are asked to increase their taxes to pay for it. I will support funding for expansion once appropriate details are presented.
Patch: What is the biggest challenge facing District 833 schools? How would you address it?
Edman: Sustaining and expanding successful education programs.
We need more language immersion programs, we need to keep award-winning educators in our district and we need to be smart about how we expand the role of technology in the classroom. If we identify programs that are successful we need to fund them, if we find programs that aren't working we need to try something different.
We also need to have methodology in place to measure effectiveness. For example are iPads the best choice, or are there cheaper and equally effective options?
Patch: Anything else you'd like to add?
Edman: I am the only candidate that represents a significant demographic of this school district; 30 something professionals with young children.
• • • •