Primary elections in two Granite School District precincts will narrow fields of four school board candidates to two survivors who will continue to the general election in November.
In Precinct 1, incumbent Lynn D. Davidson has three challengers. Precinct 3 will have a new representative as Gary C. Swensen has chosen to terminate his service on the board.In Precinct 2, incumbent Patricia G. Sandstrom will face D. Legrand Andrews in November. With only two candidates, there is no primary election in that precinct.
Among the issues candidates face are three tax-cutting initiatives on the Nov. 8 ballot: rolling back the 1987 tax increase, restoring the sales, income, gasoline and cigarette taxes to 1986 levels; capping 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.
Incumbent Lynn D. Davidson has three challengers, Christopher J. Wright, Charles C. Larsen and Roy Richards Silver.
Lynn D. Davidson, who has been an educator, real estate developer and business consultant, has been vice chairman of the Granite Board for the past four years.
If the tax limitations are approved by voters, he said, he would do his utmost to provide the best education possible with the funds available. However, "the public perception of a top-heavy administration is not correct." Even if all the district's administrators were eliminated, more than $15 million still would have to be cut under the tax proposals. "I believe the tax initiatives will hurt the education of Utah's children."
Davidson opposes consolidation of Salt Lake County's four districts on grounds that a district of more than 170,000 students would "become a bureaucracy of major proportions."
Charles C. Larsen, who is self-employed in the food service industry, said there has been a decline in the quality of education in Utah over the past few years, shown by a declining literacy rate. He supports the tax-limitation measures "as do a majority of Utahns."
He supports increased use of school buildings, teachers, staff and materials through year-round classes, reducing administrative personnel and consolidating districts along county lines.
He would increase the teacher-administrator ratio by decreasing the number of vice principals and counselors, assigning one principal to more than one school and would support increased privatization of maintenance and food services. The State Office of Education should be eliminated to save duplication of effort and money, he said.
Roy Richards Silver, an architect, has participated in the design of more than 90 educational facilities, in 15 of the state's 40 school districts, is a former PTA president and active in service clubs and politics.
He believes passage of the tax initiatives would reduce public services and deteriorate the educational system. To offset tax reductions, he would advocate study of administration and non-teaching services to see what could be eliminated, along with reducing energy use, setting more realistic limits on transportation and looking at state office personnel and programs to see if reductions could be made at that level.
A countywide district would exceed the optimum size for efficient operation and accountability, he said. He favors local control and a decrease in state direction.
Christopher J. Wright is a Mountain Fuel Supply Co. business office representative and has done substitute teaching in the Granite District, having had experience in schools at all instruction levels and throughout the district.
"I don't believe cutting taxes is the answer to our state's problems," he said. "Nor is increasing taxes a viable solution. (Tax limitation) cuts would only damage our economy in the long run. If they pass, I would vote for tighter budget control and cuts that would least affect the classroom."
He also opposes consolidation of the county school districts because alarge system would decrease quality of education. While state help and direction are necessary, he believes most decision making should be conserved for local school boards, who are closer to the questions that arise.
Precinct 1 is the area east of Highland Drive.
Contenders for the seat being vacated by Swensen are Roy R. Chapman, Kay S. Cherrington, Denis R. Morrill and Douglas S. Stacey.
Roy R. Chapman is a personnel representative for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has been involved in community organizations. He said, "While I believe that taxes in Utah are excessively high compared to income levels . . . the initiatives will cut too many needed services and programs in our district and have an adverse effect on children." He would involve a broad representation of the community to decide on necessary cuts.
He opposes a countywide school system because parents would lose control. He believes Support activities such as maintenance, food services, administration, purchasing and transportation feasibly could be combined for tax savings. He supports teacher pay-for-performance and elimination of ineffective teachers and administrative positions that are not needed.
Kay S. Cherrington, a homemaker and former school teacher, has been involved in the PTA and community improvement efforts.
While she favors control of taxation, she does not support the tax-limitation measures because of the potential harm to education. If it becomes necessary to cut budgets, she would first seek comments from parents and the education community.
Consolidation of school districts should be explored and tried on an experimental basis, she said. However, local representation is necessary to keep administrators aware of the needs of individual areas.
A proper balance between state direction and local control is necessary to create the best possible system, she said.
Denis R. Morrill, a lawyer, has served on the Hansen Planetarium and Salt Lake County Water Conservancy District boards and is involved in a number of local boards and committees related to public utilities and the Boy Scouts of America.
The tax limitations would "be disastrous and could destroy the fragile balance now keeping our educational system together," he said. Utah's strong vocal commitment to education must be matched by adequate funding. He would prefer, if necessary, to cut entire programs rather than reduce quality of the general programs or teacher salaries.
Fair distribution of tax income requires a measure of state control in education, he said. "Additionally, some things can be done more effectively on a larger scale."
Douglas S. Stacey is a podiatrist and former educator and is involved in several professional organizationsand is a lecturer and author on various topics.
"The current tax initiatives do not have the education of our children in their best interest. If they pass, I will implement them in the most equitable way possible," he said. School budgets should be cut from the top, with teacher salaries and student educational materials the last to see reductions.
The beneficial effects of combining duplicated administrative costs would outweigh the deterrent factors of a large and perhaps less personalized administration in a single county district, he said. He conceeds, however, more studies would be necessary.
Stacey favors local control of education as the most efficient and cost-effective.
Precinct 3 is between State Street and 32nd West.