The race to represent most of Bountiful on the Davis School Board may boil down to how well a homemaker and PTA activist overcomes the name recognition of a local automobile dealer.
Precinct 2 candidate Shauna Nakaya, 43, homemaker and regional director of the PTA , said she has had a difficult time getting attention off of Dan Eastman's name and onto issues confronting Davis schools. Eastman, 43, said his business name recognition will not necessarily translate into votes."Some people may vote against me because I am in business," Eastman said.
Nakaya said Eastman has little education experience, pointing out that she has been to 90 percent of the school board meetings the past four years. Eastman has attended one.
"The biggest difference I see is experience and commitment. I have been involved with this educational scene for many years. I probably am involved 20 to 30 hours a week on a volunteer basis. I have sat on a lot of district committees, so I am very familiar with the district functions," she said.
Eastman doesn't see it the same way. He said his strong business background and community leadership would serve him well in managing school affairs. He also would be a force in increasing private donations to the district foundation to offset recent losses in state revenues.
"My top priorities include adequate funding, improved teacher morale, maintaining our fine quality of education, responsible fiscal management and increased use of physical facilities," Eastman said.
In the primary election, the pair and third-place finisher Matt Galt divided the vote almost evenly. While Nakaya had a small lead in that election, there appears to be no clear leader in the race now. Although Nakaya is better known in Davis education circles, Eastman received increased teacher support after the Davis Education Association gave him a higher rating than Nakaya.
This is the first time either candidate has run for the board seat that represents all of Bountiful except seven voting districts on the city's south side. School Board President Sheryl Allen is not seeking re-election and has not endorsed either candidate.
Although he emphasizes his business management skills, Eastman said his business experience won't keep him from making the commodity of education - children - a priority.
"My view is that the student is the customer. I will do everything to try to please the customer," Eastman said.
Nakaya said she doesn't believe her long association with the PTA and as a lobbyist with the Legislature would cause any conflict of interest if she is elected. Eastman thinks it will and fears Nakaya may already have an agenda that may keep her from making needed changes.
Nakaya said: "I don't do anything but (first) think how will this affect the child. I think that is the first responsibility of a school board member - not what the teachers think or what will the superintendent thinks, but how is this going to affect the child."
Both Nakaya and Eastman both favor pay increases for teachers. Nakaya said pay increases will only come after the Legislature decides to spend more money on education. Eastman said that he would favor cuts in some programs to raise salaries.
They both also favor increased community and teacher participation in decision-making and policy development at local schools.