The Granite School Board will have at least one new member next year as two novices vie for the Precinct 3 seat being vacated by Board President Gary Swensen. Voters in Precincts 1 and 2 have a choice between an incumbent and a newcomer.
The Precinct 3 contestants are Denis R. Morrill, a lawyer who specializes in real estate, banking and finance law, and Roy R. Chapman, an occupation and personnel representative for the LDS Church.Incumbent Lynn D. Davidson in Precinct 1 faces a challenge from Charles C. Larsen. Davidson is a real estate developer and has served on the Granite Board since 1984. Lar-sen is self-employed in the food service industry.
In Precinct 2, Patricia G. Sandstrom, a teacher in the Jordan District and a member of the Granite Board for eight years, is being challenged by D. LeGrand Andrews, owner of Television Production Co.
Roy R. Chapman and his family have lived in Taylorsville for 17 years, where five of the children have attended Granite schools.
His fundamental concern is that education be both affordable and usable. School that does not prepare a student for work upon graduation is not effective, he said.
He opposes the tax-limitation measures and consolidation of Salt Lake County districts and wants to see many school reforms, including teacher pay-for-performance policy, study of all non-teaching positions to see if they are effective, elimination of unnecessary administrative level positions and consolidation of district support functions for tax savings.
Denis R. Morrill attended Granite schools and has lived in the district almost continuously throughout his life. He has served on several community boards and is now chairman of the board of the Taylors-ville-Bennion Improvement District.
He believes passage of the tax initiatives would be disastrous for local schools and would favor cutting of non-essential programs rather than across-the-board cuts if necessary.
The state's 70 percent utilization law has not been in effect long enough to determine its effectiveness, he said, "but I do believe we have an obligation to the taxpayers to use the most effective and efficient means possible to achieve our goal of quality education for students."
He favors more local control of education but sees the necessity of a measure of state control because of funding patterns.
D. LeGrand Andrews, who has two small children he expects will attend Granite District schools, sees funding and assuring that funds get to the classroom level as the most pressing problems for Granite District. Teacher morale is an issue, he said. "These people need to be treated like professionals and respected for what they do."
He said tax initiatives are not the issue, but the wise use of the dollars now available to education. "Our primary responsibility is to afford our children the best possible education, based on the dollars provided, without compromising quality. This can be done by looking at each area of school expenditure, determine its cost effectiveness and making decisions based on whether they are in the best interest of children."
Andrews, who earned degrees in communications from Butler University, Indianapolis and the University of Utah, is owner of Television Production Co.
Patricia G. Sandstrom is concerned with growth on the west side of Granite District and decreasing student enrollment on the east. Class size is also of concern, she said, as individual education becomes more problematical. Teachers tend to give more attention to bright students, she said, as classes get overlarge.
She is unreservedly opposed to the tax initiatives, she said, but recognizes Utah's economic difficulties. A good education system can help attract new business to the state, broadening the tax base, she said. She also opposes consolidation in Salt Lake County as counterproductive, although she encourages additional cooperation among the districts.
Emphasis should be on educating the "whole child," she said, looking for and addressing each child's unique gifts and limitations. Teacher morale must be addressed both by increasing salaries and letting teachers know they are appreciated.
Charles C. Larsen attended Granite schools and earned a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University. He believes the quality of Utah education has declined in recent years, as shown by an increase in high school illiteracy and the number of students requiring remediation in math and English. He believes there should be greater emphasis on math, English, history, geography, economics and political science.
He supports the tax limitation initiatives and would like to see the State Office of Education eliminated. Schools must increase the use of their buildings, teachers, staff and materials by year-round scheduling, reducing administrative personnel, consolidating districts to one per county and privatizing services to save money, he said.
"Parents, teachers, students, taxpayers and all school personnel should have access to school board members during regular visits by board members to schools," he said.
Lynn D. Davidson, who has seven children, four of whom attend Granite schools, has been a member of the board since 1985. He has studied the district in depth and has a thorough understanding of curricular and budgetary needs, he said.
He opposes the tax initiatives but is particularly concerned with the tax burdens borne by the elderly and those on fixed incomes. The district has, during his time in office, reduced taxes from 45.91 mills to 44.85 mills and eliminated two assistant superintendent positions. Public perceptions of "top-heavy" administration are simply not true.
Consolidation of Salt Lake County districts would distance people from governing boards, Davidson said, and create a huge district with a "bureaucracy of major proportions, increasing administrative costs rather than cutting them.
He supports utilization measures, including year-round schools, but feels state mandates for 70 percent utilization impinge on local control.