The "race" for seats on the Provo Board of Education is almost sweat-free this year, but two contenders - the only candidates facing any competition - have added some interest.
Shauna Walker and Kenneth W. Matheson, running against each other for a four-year term from District 3, have differing stands on most of the issues facing candidates this year.Walker favors more competition with private schools, less government control and more local control; Matheson puts emphasis on public schools. Walker favors passage of the tax-limitation initiatives; Matheson opposes them.
Kenneth W. Matheson, 44, is a member of the Provo School Foundation committee, which raises private donations for Provo schools. He has a doctorate in social work and has children attending public schools. He is backed by the Provo Education Association.
The main issue facing the district is financial, he said. "Even if the tax initiatives fail, there is not enough money to go around. We need to have better utilization of tax dollars."
Matheson said the board will need to look at the entire educational system to see if anything can be cut. That can be done through ongoing program evaluations and an assessment of district priorities.
"Enrollment and projected monies are not equally proportioned in the district, and there is a problem in Provo as to how we can meet the needs of the students."
Matheson said he is against the tax initiatives. "Nobody wants higher taxes, but I think they go too far in trying to solve the problem. They cut too deep."
His goals are to get more parent-teacher involvement in the decision making of the board and to put more money in programs that are important for the students.
Shauna Walker, 29, has a bachelor's degree in math education and has been a student teacher.
She says the world needs to be more aware of parents and be responsive to them.
"I think students and parents are clients of the school system. We need to eliminate federal control and support local control with competition between private and public schools."
Walker favors the tax-limitation initiatives because "public schools need to compete with private schools even as far as a budget is concerned. If they would implement and administer schools properly, they can teach and students can learn for a lot less money."
Her goals are to get more parents involved in the education of their children. She also would implement and try to have independent audits regularly so district residents can see where their money is going.
Running unopposed are incumbents Mossi White in District 1 and Gayle Chandler in District 4, and newcomer Kenneth W. Clark in District 2.
Board member David Weight has the only post not up for grabs next year. Clarence Robison and Walter Hansen will retire this year after serving several terms each on the board.
Mossi White, 48, is running unopposed for a two-year term. She was appointed by the board last fall after incumbent Ronald Bingham moved out of the district.
She has worked as a volunteer in the Parent Teacher Association for a number of years and is also involved in other community service.
"I have a strong interest in education and in what is going on in the schools. The major issues facing my particular district are financial problems. We need to have a lot of reform in place."
White also sees a lack of technology in the schools as a primary problem in the district. "We are going to have to find a way to update in the district."
Gayle Chandler, 50, has a bachelor's in education with a master's in communications. She has been a part-time teacher at Brigham Young University, has served in several community organizations and has spent many years working with the PTA.
Chandler was appointed to the board in May after board member Glen Brown resigned. She is seeking a four-year term.
"We must constantly seek ways to enhance learning and teaching as we contend with limited resources," she said. "I am against the tax initiatives because they go too far. Our district has been very frugal while maintaining a high level of quality. I will continue to study budgets to maintain optimum use of our funds."
Kenneth W. Clark, 40, also is running for a four-year term. He has spent a great deal of time working with the youth.
"As a parent there are some things I like and don't like, and this gives me a chance to have some input into the system," he said. "Kids come first, and they need to have the best education for the dollars available."
If the tax-limitation initiatives pass, he believes, they would eliminate special programs and support programs that maintain a good standard of education.