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COL Norton for Seat No. 6

Incumbent school board member has valuable experience

Kim Norton and Donald Williams are candidates for Seat No. 6 on the Rochester School Board.

; Norton has been a member of the school board since her election in 1998. She has a bachelor's degree in human development and special education from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and has had additional courses in early childhood education and speech/hearing. She took graduate courses in deaf education, behavioral impairments and curriculum.

She has served as district legislative representative for the Minnesota School Boards Association since 2001. Norton worked as a substitute teacher in 1988-89 before coming to Rochester. She is employed at Waldenbooks and served as art awareness coordinator for the Rochester school district from 1993 to 2000.

She has a long history of working with the PTSA and received the Minnesota PTSA Life Achievement Award in 2001 and the national PTA Outstanding Leadership Award in 1998. She also has served on five committees of the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning. She has three children in the public schools.

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; Williams has a bachelor's degree in biology and psychology from Hope College in Holland, Mich., and a doctoral degree in medical psychology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has a master's degree in business administration from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

He is a consultant in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Mayo Clinic and an associate professor of psychology in the Mayo Medical School. He is vice chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology and an active member of the American Psychological Association, with a particular interest in data-based education and continuous improvement. He has three children in the public schools.

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Norton supported the $39 million school district tax levy override because she believed the money was needed. She also approved of delaying the expenditure of part of the proceeds because of the state's budget problems.

She favors the Profiles of Learning because they establish statewide standards for the schools.

With regard to the possibility of a bond issue for a new school in the northwest part of the district, Norton said that the board has taken the position that no referendum will be needed for at least three years.

She opposed the exclusive vending machine contract with the Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. because she said proper nutrition should take precedence over school district revenue opportunities.

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She believes that she should be elected because of her long involvement with public education in Rochester and elsewhere and because she is the only board member who has served a full term.

She also said that her 15 years of involvement in education and advocacy at the local, state and national level provide a strong basis for decision making.

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Williams opposed the tax levy because he said that the school district did not provide sufficient information, and he was one of the leaders in the demand for a recount. He said the purpose of the recount was to learn the truth about the vote.

; He said that the population growth in the northwest area will give the school board an opportunity to be creative in deciding how to respond to increased enrollment.

Williams favored the vending machine contract, saying that pop, while not nutritious, has little effect on a person's health. He added that he would favor partnerships with other companies that do business with the school district.

Williams said his main goal is to return the school district to its primary role of setting policy, adopting budgets, long-range planning and other duties outlined by the Minnesota School Boards Association. He said the board should leave implementation of policy to the superintendent and staff. He said there has been a lack of objective leadership and a lack of accountability to and communication with the public.

He said his business training can serve the district well and that he will use data to guide discussions and decisions.

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Both of the candidates are well qualified and have strong credentials. However, the school board has lost a number of experienced members, and we give a slight edge to Norton because of her previous experience on the board and her long involvement with education in Rochester.

For that reason, we recommend her re-election.

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