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School board candidates discuss public information

Article Date: 
25 April, 2014 (All day)

School board candidates tackled the question of how much information should be made available during the Morgan County Republic Party’s meet the candidate event during their April 18 county convention.
School Board District 2
Candidates for Morgan County School Board District 2 include Roland Haslam, Ted W. Taylor and incumbent Bruce A. Galbraith.  Halsam was not present.  In convention straw poll results, Taylor garnered 57.45 percent of delegate votes while both Haslam and Galbraith each garnered 21.28 percent.
“Information is key.  Information is needed.  Information is power.  Too much information is not possible,” Taylor said.  “Information needs to be abundant.”
Taylor said he opposes common core and supports funds being spent appropriately.
“We have enough government in our lives,” he said.  “We don’t need more telling parents what to do.”
Galbraith, who is retired and whose four children were educated in Morgan County schools, said at a recent school board meeting that the board should make more information available on its website.
“The problem we have is the information is not too interesting,” Galbraith said.  “One to two people attend board meetings.”
School Board District 4
Candidates for Morgan County School Board District 4 include appointed incumbent Mark A. Farmer, Anna Phelps and Alan Vesper.  In delegate straw poll results, Farmer and Phelps are both tied at 42.55 percent while Vesper brought in 14.89 percent.
Phelps said she is running on a platform of local control.  Phelps has lived in the county for seven years, is the wife of an LDS seminary teacher, and has three children attending Morgan schools.  She has been a Certified Nurses Aide since 2004.
She said Common Core is “very disturbing” and the community needs to be involved in school board decisions.  “There is not enough information for parents, and it angers people,” she said.  “The finance committee was taken out of the board meetings.”
She suggested the school board set up an interactive website where parents feel safe commenting and participating in polls.
“When people feel they have a say, it creates trust,” she said.  
Farmer also moved to Morgan seven years ago.  He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and masters of business administration.  He was appointed to serve as a school board member a year ago when Joey Skinner resigned.  He said he would like to see the growth task force, technology initiative and finance committee to fruition.
“You can’t have too much information,” Farmer said.  “A place to find fair and balanced two-way communication is important.  We need to make information more readily available.  The key is accountability.  We are working toward that with committees.”
Vesper said he moved to Morgan three years ago when he saw increasing inner city problems while living in Roy. 
“I want to see more transparency.  Back and forth communication is critical,” Vesper said.  “I don’t like common core at all.  Parents have the primary responsibility to educate their children.”
State School Board 
District 1
Several local residents threw their hat in the ring at a chance on the State School Board.  A committee selects candidates to interview, and Governor Gary Herbert chooses the final two candidates to place on the ballot.  Local candidates include Lydia Nuttall, Kera Birkeland, Matthew Barr, Jennie L. Earl, Lanelle Brough Butterfield, Pamela Smith and Angie Bledsoe.
Only Nuttall and Barr addressed convention-goers.
“We need to fix this process,” Barr said of the state school board selection process.  “When you vote for governor, you vote for the state school board members.”
Nuttall said her mission statement is reducing the overreach of the federal government in Utah education.  
“The federal government should not be involved in education.  There’s always a higher price tag,” Nuttall said.  “They give funding with strings attached.  Freedom comes with self reliance and we don’t need strings attached.”