Dan Johnson became involved in school district policy in 2017 when he wrote a well-received editorial in the St. Cloud Times exposing the out-of-control open enrollment at ISD #47 schools and urging then school board members to separate district “wants from needs” in referendums. In 2018, he led the “Close Open Enrollment In Sauk Rapids/Rice” movement much successfully pressured the School Board to reverse current policy which had led to excessively large class sizes and exceeding building capacity.
Also in 2018, Johnson uncovered $18.6 million of undesignated funds in the district’s budget while the school board told citizen’s the over $90 million referendum needed voter approval to secure our schools. Johnson demanded the district use this money to secure the entrances immediately. After the referendum was heavily defeated, the Sauk Rapids-Rice School Board ultimately use these funds (and a grant from the state) to secure the school entrances without raising taxes.
In 2019, Johnson supported the single issue Pleasantview Elementary rebuild referendum, as the security concerns deemed it a “need.”
In 2020 and 2021, Johnson was very vocal urging area school boards to move back to “in-person learning” as quickly as possible. He also spoke out strongly against mask and vaccine mandates in district schools. He believed local school boards exist to make the best decision for their local communities, not to unquestionably follow state agency recommendations.