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Davis Journal

School board president works to keep students in mind

Nov 03, 2022 01:36PM ● By Becky Ginos

BOUNTIFUL—From NFL referee to school board president, John Robison has pretty much seen it all. He’s been in education for more than 30 years and started as a baseball coach at Woods Cross High and coached at Davis and had an opportunity to become a referee for some supplemental income.

“When I started refereeing I hadn’t considered the NFL,” he said. “I had my sights set on college. Then a friend suggested I apply to be an official in the NFL. I thought ‘what the heck’ and started the process.”

He was a referee in the NFL for 10 years. “Nine out of the 10 were playoff games,” said Robison. “Friday I’d get on a plane, do a game and come home and be back in school Monday morning.” 

Robison said they’d meet for three to four hours and watch a lot of film. “Three hours before the game they’d bring out 24 brand new footballs.”

Everyone had security guys right there with them the whole time, he said. “One time in Chicago the security guard tackled a guy because he was coming after me. I got death threats four or five times.”

Now Robison sits on the Davis School Board of Education. “I retired from the district in 2014,” he said. “I love education. My wife is an educator and three of my daughters are educators.”  Then someone approached him to run for the school board. “I’ve served six years as president,” he said. “It’s a four-year term. I started in 2016 and took the oath in 2017. I was reelected in 2020-2021 and have two years remaining. I’m glad I ran, I’ve loved it.”

The board’s mission by state statute is to establish policy and write and modify policy, said Robison. “We’re charged with making sure policy is followed. We’re over the budget and making sure money is being managed appropriately and responsibly. We’re also over the superintendent and business administration and evaluate them. Day to day they run the district and keep us up to date.”

During public comments at board meetings, the board cannot respond, said Robison. “At the beginning I read the rules they must follow. The board can ask a question of the public but at that time they will not get an answer from me but we’ll get a hold of you.”

A big challenge the board faced was how to return to school after COVID. “We had to make the decision whether to go full day, half day, hybrid or virtual.” 

Schools are a place where children are taken care of during the school day, he said. “Schools fill the void of helping parents. A small percentage want us to raise their kids. Some say ‘from 8 to 3 he’s not my kid – he’s yours,’ but that’s very rare. That’s the reality of society. It fills a void, an important void.”

Social media is also a difficult challenge for the board, said Robison. “One Facebook post and our inbox is filled with the same questions. It’s an issue someone brought to you. You don’t know anything about it, you just saw the post. It loses its value if it’s not impacting a child but was just picked up through Facebook.”

Robison said he answered a thousand emails one weekend over the hybrid schedule. “The vast majority didn’t have the information.”

The pandemic had a huge impact on teachers, he said. “The governor came out, the health department came out and did what they had to do. Third grade teachers taught all day long then at night worked with a child online. We all know how tough the pandemic was for us but that pales to what it was for them.”

Robison said he’s excited about the direction the district is taking. “We’re doing so well. Dr. (Fidel) Montero has the core interest of kids and teachers. We’ve got an amazing superintendent. He became amazing on day one. He’s always thinking of the best interest of the kids. We’re in good shape.” λ