Friday, October 30, 2009

Art Johnston

District Four school board candidate answers The Hillsider questionnaire (vote for one)

See questionnaire here

1. Most important responsibility
To be a role model of dignity, honest, and respect for the students, teachers and administrators. The current board’s lack of civility is not acceptable. The Board should also function to be a checks and balances to the school administration which is not happening.
2. Nutritional health
Commercial junk food, like candy bars and soda pop should not readily be available due to their high cost and unhealthy content. Good, healthy, minimally processed food should be served. Not only is this healthy, it is also less expensive. But we have to be careful not to replace good food with fad food.
3. Red Plan and divides
The Red Plan was based on very misleading data on the condition of the Duluth schools, and they took away the right to vote. The Red Plan is destroying perfectly good schools and disrupting neighborhoods at a cost of $438 million in taxes. And the existing schools, many of which are of recent construction, will given away for pennies on the dollar—a very bad protection of past investments. I will do what it takes to save Morgan Park, Lincoln Park, Nettleton, Central and the STC.
4. No Child Left Behind Act.
I have no opinion.
5. Weapons/pocketknives?
I would have to look at this entire policy. In general, I don’t believe weapons should be allowed in public schools. I would support programs that address potential violent situations and show students how to defend themselves.
6. U.S. Constitution
Obviously, the Constitution is the foundation of all laws governing schools. But interpretation of the Constitution as it relates to public education, has been argued way too many times by way too many lawyers. And this has usually been to the detriment of the schools.
7. Class size?
First of all, we must start emphasizing education and programming instead of building new building. The Red Plan is spending about $22 million per year for 20 years on new buildings. If this money were spent on programs, it would virtually eliminate budget problems, which would lead to smaller class sizes. We need to start advocating for smaller, saver, saner, successful neighborhoods.