Wayzata School Board Newcomers Say Pandemic, Masks Top Election Issues
Questions about mask mandates and how the school district coped with the pandemic peppered school board candidates running for office in the Wayzata District.
“It was the No. 1 question,” said school board member-elect Heidi Kader. “It was the hottest topic at the time. I think in the past week as I was knocking on doors that waned, as we were hearing about the new vaccine for young ones. So it waned a little bit.”
Kader said despite what voters felt about the pandemic, parents had the same desires for their students.
“I think in Wayzata, the themes are similar, we all want the kids to have what they need to launch in the world,” said Kader. “I want to make sure our kids are staying in school. They are safe. They are healthy and they are halting all of the learning loss over the past year.”
Another new face on the school board, Milind Sohoni also said the pandemic was a top topic on the campaign trail.
“The pandemic hit us big time last year, it has not gone away yet,” said Sohoni. “Tackling the issue of the pandemic with children, families in mind will be number one goal for me.”
Although the district doesn’t keep historical data regarding the ethnicity of school board members, Sohoni is believed to be the first Indian-American and Asian-American on the Wayzata School Board.
Sohoni says Plymouth has grown more diverse since he moved there in 1995. Numbers from the state demographer show Asian as the largest minority race/ethnicity in Wayzata Schools, totaling more than 20 percent of the district’s student population.
“Diversity is very important for voters and constituents and over the last several years the city and school district have grown very diverse,” said Sohoni.
Besides Kader and Sohoni, incumbent Sarah Johansen was also re-elected to the Wayzata School Board.