BY REBECCA PALMER
WOODS CROSS — Anti-tax candidates were defeated in two of three races in Davis School Board elections, and the two candidates who lost were bested by significant margins.
Larry Smith, from Precinct 2, will replace incumbent board member James E. Clark. Smith had criticized recent tax increases, but, contrary to rumors, hasn’t allied himself with outspoken conservative board member Peter Cannon.
Larry Smith won by fewer than 1,000 votes in his precinct, which covers Bountiful, part of Farmington and Centerville.
In Precinct 1 in Bountiful and Woods Cross, incumbent Barbara Smith will continue as a board member. She triumphed with 8,729 votes, almost exactly double the tally of opponent Sandra Mountcastle.
In Precinct 4 in northeast Davis County, Kathie Bone defeated Paul Prier 10,811 to 3,831.
Preliminary results have been provided by the Utah Elections Commission, but won’t be ratified for weeks.
If his election holds, Larry Smith will be the only board member with a child in the public schools.
“Looking forward, I’ve received a lot of feedback from people that have all kinds of input to me in Precinct 2,” he said on Wednesday. “I want to figure out what’s going on in the classroom. I want to know what’s really going on where the rubber meets the road.”
Larry Smith also wants to meet with the incumbent Clark to see whether the two can work together on planned improvements.
“I’d like to learn some of the stuff that he may be working to address,” he said. “If we have some similar thoughts on those, I’d be willing to pursue those.”
Bone wasn’t running as an incumbent, but her ties with the Davis School Board and administration run deep, and she has sided with incumbents in defending recent property tax increases. Bone was director of elementary education until her retirement last year.
Prier was disappointed by the election results in his precinct. During the campaign, he advocated for having more diversity of viewpoints on the board and spoke against property tax increases.
“I think that what I said is not unpopular amongst most of the voters but it’s very unpopular with those who have the mechanisms in place to organize for or against a candidates” he said on Wednesday.
He would like to stay involved, but said it is very difficult to petition the board because of their public comment policies in meetings and because their decisions often seem to be made before meetings start.
Mountcastle, who has been outspoken throughout the race and has allied herself with Cannon, said she might run again in four years.
“I think the margin showed me that all I had to do was work a little bit harder and I would have gotten elected,” she said. “I plan to continue to observe what’s going on with the school board. I will become a thorn in their side.”
Neither Mountcastle’s opponent Barbara Smith nor Bone immediately returned calls from the Clipper on Wednesday about the election.
As returns were filed online on Tuesday night, former state school board candidate Nicole Toomey Davis commented on the district races.
“People don’t really pay attention to the school board even though it has such an impact on taxes,” she said. “That’s disappointing, but it’s the reality.”