The Education Coordinating Council will ask the State School Boards Association to reconsider its withdrawal from council membership.
The council acted Wednesday to try to shore up its ranks, decrying the growing criticism that the SBA defection has triggered."I'm sick and tired of that kind of criticism," said Jim Campbell, president of the Utah Education Association and a council member. "There's a lot of miscommunication going on."
Campbell and PTA President Darlene Gubler both said they had received calls Wednesday morning from Education Week, a national education publication, inquiring what was going on in Utah.
"It puts us in a bad light. I hope we can avert future problems," Gubler said.
Campbell asked that the council write the SBA asking that the local boards reconsider their recent move to drop out of the council.
The council has representatives from all of education's major organizations. It was created by State Superintendent James R. Moss to provide a forum for the groups to study legislative issues and share information.
Campbell's motion included a recommitment by the remaining members to the council, including commendations for state officials for the way they handled 1989 legislative matters - contrary to the SBA's position, which was that the legislative session had been badly handled in some instances.
Moss was directed to address the criticisms aimed at him personally by local educators. He was asked to set up a meeting with the SBA board of directors and explore areas of difference.
Copies of the council letter also will go to local superintendents in all 40 Utah districts. The superintendents will meet April 10 to consider whether to follow the SBA out of the council.
Don Richards, council representative for the Utah School Superintendents Association, said that the SBA has indicated to him that they want to continue to work with other members of the school community, but in other forums.
The SBA is involved in HOPE, a group that represents the local and state school boards, the superintendents, UEA and PTA. It has been in existence for some time, but has centered essentially on tax limitation issues. The local boards also hold regular liaison meetings with the state board, with three members from each group.
"They have no desire to withdraw from cooperation with others," Richards said. He suggested that HOPE could be reactivated and broaden its scope if necessary.
Richards said the superintendents will work with the SBA to study the issue of educational governance during the legislative interim, particularly how state school board members should be selected.
The SBA supported an unsuccessful bill in the 1989 Legislature to create a selection/election process that would allow district nominating committees to select candidates for the state board. The governor then would make a final choice and voters would be asked to confirm the appointments through retention elections.