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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Cheney Public Schools Board, district 5

Election Results

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

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.

About The Race

The Candidates

Mitch Swenson

Owns several apartment buildings

Education: Graduated from Cheney High School in 1978. Earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from Eastern Washington University in 1982.

Political experience: Cheney Public Schools board director since 2015.

Work experience: Has worked as a commercial real estate broker with NAI Black in Spokane for 36 years. He specializes in selling apartment buildings and owns a number of complexes.

Family: Widowed. He has five daughters who all graduated from Cheney High School.

His pitch: Swenson said he has a deep passion for the Cheney area and its schools. He said serving on the school board the lpast few years has been a chance for him to give back since he and many family members attended area schools. The board needs to continue planning for growth and acquiring land for future school construction, he said. With years of experience as a real estate broker and apartment building owner, he said he is equipped to budget and manage a business. Swenson said he supports the capital levy on the ballot so the school district will be able to build new schools, improve technology and attract more students.

His words: “I believe strongly that we as a populous are seeing so much growth in our area all of a sudden and need to make sure our kids have a great system, including great teachers and facilities.”

William (Bill) Johns

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."

Complete Coverage

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.