Archive for Thursday, February 10, 2005

Linwood resident hoping to help improve school district

February 10, 2005

The candidacy of Gary Johnson, a lifelong Linwood resident, for position 6 on the Basehor-Linwood School Board isn't about wholesale change so much as it is helping the district improve educational opportunities for students.

"It just seemed like the right thing to do," Johnson said of filing for the election. "I just want to ensure (the school district) keeps going in the right direction."

Johnson, 59, is a water service foreman for Union Pacific Railroad. He has been a resident of Linwood since 1953 and put two of his children through Basehor-Linwood schools.

Paul Smith, also of Linwood, is Johnson's lone opponent in the bid for position 6. The position 6 incumbent, Chris Claflin, is not seeking re-election.

Smith, 36, is a technical analyst for Sprint and a part-time real estate agent. Both school board candidates are members of the Basehor-Linwood School District advisory council, a board comprised of local residents and community leaders who routinely meet with school district officials to discuss educational issues.

Johnson said he considers the district to be heading in the right direction and is particularly pleased that student scores on assessment tests have shown marked improvement in recent years.

"I'd just like to see those test scores keep improving with the district," he said. "It used to be they were (in line) with scores from Kansas City. There's no way that should happen." He added, "we need to improve and keep improving."

Both Johnson and Smith will attend a "Meet the Candidates" forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22.

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