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Crowded field vie for school board seat

With incumbent Fred Daly opting to run for another seat with a less-crowded field of candidates, the election for Seat 5 is guaranteed to bring a new face to the Rochester School Board.

First, however, the five candidates will be narrowed in the Aug. 10 primary.

Vying for the two spots on the Nov. 2 ballot are IBM customer liaison Greg Gallas, nurse Dawn M. Johnson, Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation senior project manager Daniel O'Neil, retired Rochester school district occupational therapist Michael Resman, and Throndson Oil and L.P. Gas Co. owner Terry Throndson.

Throndson said he's running for the school board because he believes the current board lacks leadership and accountability, traits he's needed as a business owner.

"I will work with the others, but you have to have a team, you have to have good parents to send their kids to school, and you have to have good community backing," he said.


Gallas said he's running for the school board because he's noted distrust in the community of the school board and he thinks he can help the board work together better.

"There's not a lot of truth and transparency amongst the board to the community," he said.

Gallas has proposed cutting programs that don't close gaps for all students and says the district can no longer afford "extensive" central office staff and their salaries.

Johnson said she's running for the school board because, as a homeowner, she wonders how well her tax dollars are being spent on education and how well kids are learning.

"Our community's future starts with the education of the young," she said.

Johnson says she will look at having non-profit organizations provide services for the district to save money, and that she'll research budget cuts in other districts to guide cuts when needed in Rochester.

O'Neil, who stresses his background as a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and a son of a school administrator, also touts his experience working with the Disney Co., Mayo Clinic and as board president at Channel One Food Bank and Food Shelf.

"I believe that together we can do a lot more than we can separately," he said.


O'Neil said he will prioritize the teacher-student relationship in the the classroom when budget cuts are needed, but no costs are "off the table." He also proposes expanding programs that pair at-risk kids with caring adults.

Resman, who is endorsed by the local teachers union, the Rochester Education Association, touts his experience in the school system, saying he would listen, communicate honestly, and ask good questions as a board member.

"What I would hope to do better in my term on the school board is heal the rifts on the school board," he said.

Resman said a top priority would be suggesting cuts to central administration, adding that skills he's gained in studying nonviolent communication will help him as a board member in resolving conflicts.

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