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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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William (Bill) Johns

A candidate for Cheney Public Schools Board, district 5, Cheney School District in the 2019 Washington General Election, Nov. 5


Age: 74

City: Cheney, WA

Education: Earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Washington in 1968 and a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Gonzaga University in 1973.

Political experience: None.

Work experience: He has worked as a civil engineer for a number of different local governments, such as the city of Spokane, Spokane County and Adams County. He also worked on the Lower Granite Dam project while employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Served in the Vietnam War from 1969-70.

Family: Married to Mary Johns. They have two children who attended Cheney Public Schools.

His pitch: Johns said he frequently has attended Cheney Public Schools board meetings for the past four years and has experience managing large project budgets. He has advocated for and against multiple school bonds and levies since the 1970s. He is against the Cheney Public Schools capital levy for land acquisitions and technology upgrades that will be on the November ballot. He says the board should spend within its means and residents can’t afford higher taxes. He also said the raises given to teachers last year were too high. If elected, he said he would be a voice of dissent on the school board.

His words: The district is “taking too much money out of people’s pockets… They had some reserves, the reserves were used to pay the salary increase of teachers and the levy is used to pay for things that the reserves should pay for."

Race Results

Candidate Votes Pct
Mitch Swenson 4,006 60.88%
William (Bill) Johns 2,574 39.12%

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Cheney school board candidates Swenson, Johns disagree on tax proposals

Incumbent board member Mitch Swenson said the school district needs the two-year capital property levy of 50 cents per $1,000 on November’s ballot to acquire land for future schools and upgrade technology in schools. Challenger Bill Johns said he believes the capital levy is a result of excessive teacher pay increases causing the district to dip into reserve funding.