Candidate profile: Michael Edman
City: Cottage Grove
Family: Wife, Christina;
two daughters, 4 and 2
Education: Law degree from William Mitchell
Occupation: Attorney, focusing on family law, court-appointed cases, business
Michael Edman said as a District 833 School Board member he would apply skills he uses as an attorney: the ability to analyze issues with competing interests, and a willingness to ask questions.
“You have a duty to do your due diligence,” he said. He added that everybody who serves on the School Board has good intentions, but “good intentions don’t necessarily mean good decisions.”
Edman serves on the Cottage Grove Public Works Commission, the city charter commission and the Washington County Community Corrections Advisory Board. With young children who will enroll in district schools, Edman said he wants to provide “thought leadership for the future of the district.”
Technology use is important, Edman said, but he questions why the district purchased iPads for five schools when there are less expensive tablet devices. He would want to see data showing the effectiveness of the iPads before expanding the program.
Edman has a nuanced position on the Nov. 5 referendum. He supports the first question because he said it would be “irresponsible to pull the plug” on existing levies. However, he added, the district should budget so that a local levy is not needed for operating costs in the future.
Edman is undecided on the second question, which seeks new levy revenue for four areas. He supports funding to improve technology infrastructure and to avoid deficit spending, but is skeptical about using levy funds to add staff. He also questions whether some proposed safety improvements are needed, calling the schools “safe” even without the upgrades.
Edman said the district should build new schools to accommodate student growth, but disagrees with the district plan to levy $8 million before identifying the land it wants to buy and how much construction will cost.
“You should tell us exactly what you want to spend,” he said.