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Letter: Partisan politics doesn't belong on school boards
Apr 23, 2014 | 1787 views | 0 0 comments | 97 97 recommendations | email to a friend | print

If you believe that school boards should not be governed by partisan politics, your action is needed this week.

Patti Harrington, executive with the Utah School Boards Association, has notified me that a resolution will come before the Utah Republican Nomination Convention (April 26, 2014) which will support making all Utah school boards (state and local) partisan. If, like me, you believe this to be an unwise procedure and you know a delegate to the State Republican convention, please urge them to vote against the resolution. Action needs to happen in the next few days!

The resolution is titled Resolution to Promote Partisan School Board Elections and can be found on the Utah Republican Party website at: http://www.utgop.org/utgop.asp

The resolution lists as its chief sponsor Oak Norton, a resident of Utah County who remains regularly agitated about public education. He is active in the anti-Common Core fight.

Astoundingly, the resolution says that “. . . most school board members seem to welcome federal control of education.” I believe this statement is incorrect and certainly does not represent the actions of the Utah School Boards Association (USBA).

In the 2009 Legislative Session, USBA initiated a bill with supportive legislators: HJR11 Joint Resolution Expressing Support For and Recognizing the Value of Locally Elected Officials (M. Brown). The bill resolved “that the Legislature recognizes that the close connection of locally elected officials to their communities creates an atmosphere of high accountability in administering fiscal and other important matters.” The bill passed unanimously in both Utah’s Senate and House. See: http://le.utah.gov/~2009/bills/hbillenr/hjr011.pdf. That action seems to clearly place the school boards in a position different than described in the resolution.

Partisan politics has no place in the State Board or our local school boards of education. In the recent legislative session, a bill to support partisan state school board elections was strongly opposed by USBA and it failed. This proposed nominating convention resolution concerning local school boards clearly does not reflect the view of Utah’s public and the parents whose children attend our neighborhood schools.

In order to oppose this resolution, you will need to contact the Republican delegates and state leaders from your area that are invited to attend the 2014 Utah Republican Nominating (State) Convention on April 26, 2014. Your contact must occur prior to that date. If you do not know your state delegates, delegate contact information can be found by calling your county offices and asking for the names of your county Republican delegates.

Sincerely,

Kim R. Burningham

Bountiful

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