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New Glarus School Board Candidate - Johnson


March 25, 2021

Peter Johnson

Age: 41

Occupation: Product Manager - Analytics and Data Science

Years lived in the district: 17

Incumbent? No

Have you been on the school board or held public office before? If so please describe: No

Why are you running for school board? With two children in elementary school, I am personally invested in the continued excellence of the school district. My professional experience in software and analytics is unique amongst the candidates and current board members. Through my various roles as a programmer and manager, I've learned to make decisions based on data in conjunction with common sense. It is important to be decisive, but it is equally important to be agile and adapt as new information becomes available. Too often organizations stick with prior decisions because it is the "easy" thing to do. With my talents I will partner with the administration and the other board members to enable our district to react faster in our changing world.

What issues do you find most important? How would you handle these issues? Safely transitioning to in-person schooling is the main issue I have heard from the community. Many middle and high school students are struggling with the current hybrid model. These students need to be back in classrooms with live instruction. Elementary has been in-person all year with 0 confirmed transmissions. Vaccinations are underway for district staff. I believe we can get back to full in-person instruction safely. I am happy that the school board voted on 3/15 to start this process. I am expecting and planning for five days a week in person education next fall. I support providing a virtual option for those who desire it.

The other major issue facing our school district is the $29.8 million facility referendum. Listening to the district administrators and based on my own children's experience, I feel a new primary center is justified. As there is a forecasted need for skilled trades in the near future, expanding the industrial arts areas of the middle/high school makes a lot of sense to prepare students for entry in that workforce as well. The promise that the tax rate will not go up must be kept, though. Most residents I've spoken with are concerned with the property tax rate increasing. I will do everything I can on the board to maintain the current mill rate.

Any additional comments? In the past few years, national and state level politics have become extremely divisive. I truly believe that we have more in common than we don't in New Glarus. It does not matter if you lean "blue" or "red", great schools are the foundation for a great community.


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