Resolution giving governor, Senate more power over school board advances

Published: Wednesday, March 6 2013 11:55 a.m. MST

Stepping in to answer the questions, Gainell Rogers, Utah PTA president, said approximately 2,000 PTA members attended the most recent convention where the vote was taken, though all PTA members were invited to do so. She said the vote in opposition of SJR5 represented roughly 10 percent of the total PTA membership, which she compared to the low voter turnout in elections for state lawmakers.

"Every member is encouraged to come, just as they are in the state of Utah to vote for you," Rogers said.

Debra Roberts, chairwoman of the State School Board, said amendments to the state constitution represent more serious changes than modifications to state statute, and as such require a higher degree of solemnity, consideration and need.

Roberts said amendments should represent good policy regardless of present situations and rhetorically asked committee members if they would still support the resolution if Utah was led by a Democratic governor.

She also said that giving appointment and confirmation power to the governor and Senate increased the likelihood that the "pollution of politics" would enter the public education system.

"This amendment seems to fit the old saying of a solution in search of a problem," she said.

That sentiment was echoed by Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, who cast the lone vote in opposition to the resolution and questioned why the constitutional amendment was necessary.

"I'm trying to understand what problem we're trying to solve here," Jones said.

The resolution ultimately advanced out of the committee with a 4-1 vote. Prior to the vote, Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, took time to publicly state that he felt the issue warranted a thorough debate on the Senate floor and would ultimately be up to the people of Utah to decide in November's general election.

E-mail: benwood@desnews.com

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