Canyons board members split over need for investigation

Published: Friday, April 20 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

SANDY — Two Canyons School Board members took opposite positions Friday in the push for an investigation into the management practices of the superintendent.

Board member Steven Wrigley told the Deseret News that he is not aligned with a board statement supporting Superintendent David Doty that was released on Tuesday, and he favors a request for an independent investigation into the district.

"I felt then, and even more urgently now, that in order to restore public confidence in the district and administration, the board needs to seriously consider the public's request for an independent survey or investigation to address the concerns being expressed," Wrigley said in a prepared statement.

Wrigley said Friday he wanted to make sure his constituents knew where he stood following a statement attributed to the board as a whole but that did not list supporting board members' names individually. The statement was read during a school board meeting Tuesday.

A division within the district separates those who support the school district's top leadership and those who accuse its leaders of creating an atmosphere of intimidation.

Former executive director and principal Trenton Goble told the board on Tuesday he had no avenue to voice his concerns and lived in fear of retribution if he spoke out. Sunrise Elementary principal Frank Schofield said allegations against Doty are mere resistance to change.

But a split on the school board became evident after Wrigley's statement, and one that followed later in the day in response to an email seeking comment.

"I absolutely DO NOT support an investigation," board member Kim Horiuchi said in an email. "There is nothing to investigate. From the inception of Canyons School District, our board has been focused on getting our students college- and career-ready and preparing them to compete in an increasingly competitive global marketplace."

She concluded the statement by writing, "Mr. Wrigley is pursuing a different agenda, which he can explain on his own."

The statement read by board member Paul McCarty during Tuesday's meeting said the board "would like to reiterate its full and unequivocal support of Superintendent David Doty. We are his direct supervisors, and for four years have worked closely with him as he has led our district."

But Wrigley said there is an "ever-increasing number of comments that are being posted in the media by concerned parents, (district) employees and others" and that individual board members need to be accountable for their positions.

"I was one of the minority votes who did not support the statement that was read at Tuesday's board meeting," Wrigley stated.

Contacted for further comment Friday, Wrigley declined to elaborate.

The request given to the board on Tuesday for an anonymous survey of employees and an independent investigation came from school board candidate Chad Iverson, who is running against McCarty, who is seeking re-election this year.

Iverson started an online petition a week ago that spells out the requests for an investigation. It had grown to more than 1,160 signatures as of Friday afternoon.

Doty said on KSL Newsradio's "Doug Wright Show" Wednesday that he did not see the need for a survey of district employees. "I have a big problem with anonymous surveys," he said.

As for an investigation, "If the board feels that's necessary, of course I will be willing to do that," Doty said. "Am I going to initiate it myself? No."

On Friday, Doty's secretary said he was unavailable for comment.

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