State School Board seats in four of the state's nine districts are being contested in the November election. Primary runoffs will be necessary Sept. 13 in Districts 2, 4 and 8.
In District 6, there are only two candidates, incumbent M. Richard Maxfield and challenger Keith Henschen, so a primary is not needed.Among the issues that candidates face are tax-cutting initiatives that will be on the Nov. 8 ballot, including moves to cap property taxes on residential property at 0.75 percent of fair market value and on other property at 1 percent, and giving a state income-tax credit to parents whose children attend private schools.
Weber County except for Washington Terrace,
Logan, Morgan County, Rich County
The incumbent, Keith T. Checketts, Logan, is a member of several national and state education committees on student testing and teacher accreditation. He is a specialist in psychological testing at Utah State University. Checketts has been a member of the state board four years, three as chairman.
"The most significant thing we can do this November is to defeat the tax limitation proposals. If they pass, the state board would provide overall policy to enable local boards to best utilize the available resources.
"I proposed that the state board become a member of the local school boards association and have actively pursued more productive relationships between state and local levels. I was instrumental in forming the education coordinating council to create a more united voice for education in Utah.
"My concept of an ideal education system is one in which each child could achieve at the highest possible level and in which universal values are the base."
William L. Garner, Huntsville, Weber County, spent 18 years as a local school superintendent.
"I do not support the tax initiatives. If they pass, local school districts should have the freedom to initiate reductions. This means they will not be the same in every district.
"I would attempt to improve relationships between the state board and local boards by listening to the local boards before deciding on state policies.
"I believe gifted students need to receive more attention. I would like to see them receive the same attention and funding as students in special education."
Dale Schimmelpfennig, Pleasant View, Weber County, recently retired as Weber County School District director of finance. He is a former director of finance for the Cache County School District, business teacher at Davis High School and evening instructor at Utah State University. He spent seven years with the state Office of Education, Division of School Finance and Statistics.
"The proposed tax initiatives, if passed, could mean reduced staffs and increased pupil-teacher ratios. Student fees would increase, creating a burden on low-income families. The basic program must be maintained at all costs. Reductions should come in athletics, transportation, adult education and driver education, as well as in administration and counseling services.
"To improve relationships between state and local boards, I would reduce financial and statistical report requirements, remove policies that handicap local boards in making financially sound decisions and provide professional consulting services to help resolve problems.
"Changes in education should be well-planned, with citizen input."
Salt Lake City
Incumbent Ruth Hardy Funk is now board vice chairwoman. She is a former teacher in Salt Lake schools; former general president of the Young Women organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; board member, Bonneville International; former chairwoman, Governor's Commission on the Status of Women; and former state PTA officer.
"Since the primary function of the state board is to protect, nurture and provide resources to public education, I must oppose the tax initiatives. There is little, if any, fat to cut in education. If voters make the mistake of passing them, it is essential that local districts make decision where cuts should be made.
"We have worked to strengthen relationships with local boards, meeting monthly in a liaison committee and meet with local districts throughout the state. There is local representation on important committees.
"I am a member of the Strategic Planning Commission and fully support its statement that public education should empower students to participate meaningfully and completely in society."
Randall G. Harmsen is small-business owner and parent of six who says he is interested and involved in education at all levels.
"I do not favor the tax initiatives. I think it is premature to conjecture where budgets would have to be slashed, but reducing budgets would be difficult and painful, severely impacting the state's ability to provide quality education for many years to come.
"Efforts of the state board should be toward encouraging more direct response by local boards to their communities, the customers at each school.
"I would require more accountability from districts and schools and would like to see clear policies (that can be tracked) and objectives statewide, with economic incentives to encourage implementation. The ideal system would be customer-based management - decision-making at the lowest level. Such management would give a greater voice to students, teachers and parents."
Otis H. Weeks has 35 years of experience with schools in Utah, other states and foreign countries.
"I do not favor the tax initiatives on the November ballot because I feel the governed should control tax rates through their legislators, or replace those legislators. If it passed, I would reduced administrative personnel, fringe programs (I believe we should go back to the basics) and limit achievement tests to grades three, six, nine and 12 instead of testing yearly.
"I would improve relationships between state and local boards by maintaining open communication and fair evaluation of problems.
"An ideal school system is impossible due to individual differences. However, meeting individual differences is essential to maximize productivity. Educators need to re-emphasize existing programs in math, science, geography and world affairs to enable our students to compete with other countries."
Charles W. Peters has taught for 17 years and is a parent of six children.
"I am running for the state board to attempt to bring a teacher's perspective of classroom issues to the board, to bring their concerns directly into the board room and offer suggestions that would aid the educational planning process.
"For the past 15 years, federal funds have been readily available. Title programs within the state grew rapidly. Now these funds have slowly diminished. The state education dollar is being stretched to try to cover these losses. Holes are appearing in basic education needs.
"Not enough up-to-date textbooks are available for each student. `Consumable' workbooks are being photocopied daily in many schools because there aren't enough to go around. Many teachers spend their own funds for classroom needs. Careful planning and stringent priorities based on student needs must be mandated."
Utah County except American Fork, Lehi
Spanish Fork, Payson, Mapleton and Salem
N. Lee Crabb, Orem, retired after 10 years of teaching in public schools and 19 years as a secondary and district administrator. He is a member of Phi Delta Kappa, Utah Valley Management Society and Lions International.
"Among answers to difficult questions in education would be: Examination of graduation requirements. Nearly all students now meet current state requirements.
"Should we now fund vocational, two-year college, industry-sponsored training or remediation programs? We should ensure that public education's vocational programs articulate with four-year institutions. We should concentrate on skills instruction in third and fourth grades and reform middle schools to ensure adolescents accept responsibility and become useful to society.
"We should look for and disseminate exemplary programs in the state, examine the role of day centers, look at future funding methods to ensure adequate, fair, equitable and unwasteful distribution of funds and ensure accountability at the lowest level, with involvement of all concerned."
Rulon R. Garfield, Provo, has taught at every educational level from elementary school through university. He has been a principal, supervisor, regional director, lead regional director in education and designee of President Ford professor of educational leadership, Brigham Young University. He is an Educational textbook author and has been involved in business, government and community service.
"Passage of the tax initiatives would turn the Legislature, county commissions, city councils and school boards into debating societies. I would propose no cuts, but use lateral thinking to acquire alternative sources of funding.
"I believe in local school control and that the state must allow local boards to manage their own affairs, with state leadership and performance audits. I would work to put the learner at the center of educational enterprise and to communicate to Utahns the significant contributions made by the state's teachers."
V. Jay Liechty, Provo, is a certified public accountant and businessman. He has been chairman of the governor's committee to study cost-effectiveness in the school system, financial adviser for a private school for the retarded and handicapped and teacher at LDS Business College.
"If the tax limiting initiatives pass, every effort must be made to avoid taking any cuts from the educational system. The tax credit for private schools would provide competition and result in fewer students in the public system and more money per student in the public schools.
"Small school districts rely heavily on the state board. A study should determine an optimum school district size to equalize needs. The state board would then be in a better position to provide uniform, fair services.
"We need to step into an educational `space age.' Technology must be integral to education. Teachers must be allowed to earn a more professional salary, and students should progress at their own rates in an outcome-based system."
Lenora D. Plothow, Provo, has been a PTA officer for 16 years, including two as state president and three years on the Education Commission of the national PTA. She is a member of the national board of directors and has served on numerous committees and task forces, including Western Task Force on Rural Education and Utah Office of Education's Career Ladder Review Committee. Plothow is a former legislative liaison for the Utah Rural Schools Association.
"I oppose the tax initiatives. If they pass, a careful study must be undertaken to maintain quality education and retain high quality teachers, administrators and staff.
"State board members should have a method of regular communication with local boards and should attend local board meetings in the districts they represent. Board meetings should be held in various state regions once a year.
"An ideal system would incorporate effective reform, more flexibility, use of technology, more local involvement in decision-making and school-business partnerships."
Charles H. Stewart, Provo, did not respond to the Deseret News questionnaire.