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Meet the Candidates: Mark Johnson

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Education: 1970 Graduate ROCHS, attended NWMSC 1 ½ years studying industrial arts, Iowa Western Comm. College received Associate Degree in Electric Technology, continued education at UNO in Electronic Engineering Program.

Work Experience: 40 plus years with MidAmerican Energy. About 35 years doing construction, repair, and maintenance of electrical substations and the last few years in the supply chain of the company.

1. Why should voters support you Sept. 8? 

I bring  choices that are clearly different from the incumbents. I’m concerned over the Tigervision issue and believe if Phase I is passed strictly by the board, voters will be upset enough that Phase II will not be possible by a public vote. I can’t see why Red Oak Community Schools would want to start a project that can be only half completed. I believe many in our community feel the same. I believe I have the knowledge and experience to represent you fairly on the Board of Education. My concerns are Tigervision and administrative leadership.

2. How would you describe the current status of the Red Oak School District?

Red Oak Community Schools are in strong financial condition. I believe the district has very dedicated and talented teachers. The district has a new superintendent which I believe will be an improvement. Tom (Messinger) appears to be a sincere and knowledgeable leader. I believe the school district is divided over the Tigervision issue and would like to see that resolved.

3. What goals and objectives would you have for the school district if you are elected to the Red Oak School Board?

I would try to make Tigervision a choice that is made by the voters of this community. I also would try to assure the district’s leadership is moving in a positive direction. My experience has been when you have knowledgeable leaders working together who put the right processes in place and give the employees the right tools to do the job, things run smoothly and the final outcome is successful. 

 4. How would you propose the school district proceed with the Tigervision project? Slow down. Show the people what the savings would be going from five buildings to two (the goal of Tigervision). Come up with the plans for Phase I and what the cost would be. Show the public how the project would be funded and the total cost to the taxpayers. Let the voters decide possibly by the PPEL fund vote if they support this project.

5. With declining enrollment and marginal increases in state revenue, how can the district best meet the changing needs of students today?

I view the enrollment issue as a double edged sword. A district faced with a significant increasing enrollment would not have enough buildings, teachers, and staff. These conditions could create significant expenditures for the district. On the other hand with a declining enrollment the district may have too many buildings, too many teachers, and too many staff. Iowa has districts of many different sizes. I believe the key is to manage the resources to the proper level to provide a quality education.