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Possible new entry into DPS board race

Longtime school finance lawyer, Denver Public Schools volunteer and dad of three teen daughters, Michael Johnson this week said that he is seriously considering running for the school board seat now held by term-limited Jeannie Kaplan.

Also throwing a name in the District 3 ring, representing central Denver, is Meg Schomp.

Johnson, co-chair of the district’s mill oversight committee, said he’ll make his decision in the next few weeks.

One complicating factor is that DPS is one of his primary clients. He handles both legal issues surrounding school finances and bonds, and is also lead counsel for the Colorado State Treasurer’s Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) K-12 capital construction program.

If he won a seat on the board, Johnson would have to cut his professional ties with DPS.

Johnson, 62, said he has been active in his children’s schools since 1998, most recently as co-chair of the collaborative school committee at Denver School of the Arts. He also served on the committee that helped put together the plan for the bond and mill levy approved by an overwhelming percentage of voters in November. Johnson described public education as one of his core passions.

“I care a lot about kids’ education,” Johnson said. “Public schools have been really extremely important in my life. I’m first in my family to go to college and public school teachers made me who I am.”

Read about the other candidates who have declared — or are pondering — a run for the DPS board in a race that is sure to be a humdinger. While Schomp has been endorsed by Kaplan, one of the board’s three members who have been vocal critics of Superintendent Tom Boasberg and the district’s current direction in terms of school reform; it stands to reason that Johnson would be more in line with members of the board majority. But, we’ll have to wait and see…

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