There are several candidates in the race for the District 5 seat to represent the neighborhoods of Lower Pinebrook, Pinebrook North, Summit Park East, Summit Park West, Upper Pinebrook and Wagon Wheel.
Four candidates filed to run for current school board Vice President Michael Boyle's seat, so the race will have to be narrowed down to two in a primary election on June 24. The finalists will go on to the General Election ballot in November.
"I decided to run for school board, because I think the board can use someone with my experience to help guide the district to where it wants to be," he said.
He began his teaching career as a graduate assistant in conversational German at Louisiana State University while he studying for a master's degree. He spent 13 more years in Baton Rouge teaching high school social studies and foreign language.
After moving to Park City, he worked as the in-school-suspension and detention moderator at Park City High School for three years while obtaining a master's degree in educational administration from Brigham Young University.
"I got a job right off the bat as the principal over at Treasure Mountain, when it was a middle school, and I was there for five years," he said. "Then the superintendent asked me if I was interested in taking over the athletic department at the high school as the athletic director, so I took that job and spent 11 years there before retiring in August 2013."
His three decades as an educator have taught him that professional development for teachers in the district should be a top priority. "I think teachers should be involved at every turn in their professional development so we can really meet their needs and help them to instruct better in their particular areas," he said.
That is where the budget comes into play, an issue Payne said needs to be addressed wisely. Spending $5.5 million on a multi-purpose building to house the Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies program is what he believes to be a rushed decision with no input from teachers or community members.
The installation of programs needs proper assessment, which takes time, he said. He referenced his help in the creation of the orchestra while he was the principal at Treasure Mountain Middle School.
"I was requested to find a teacher to teach the orchestra, which had very few students in it, and there was a little controversy about, 'Would you use a Full-Time Equivalent for that?' but now look at our orchestra program," he said. "And we didn't build a big orchestra facility for those students in the first year. You have to give things a chance to grow."
Payne also said he would revise the term "closing the achievement gap." The term, to him, seems misguided. Rather than trying to keep the high-achieving students steady and increase achievement in the below-proficient students, he believes achievement should increase across the board.
That can only happen with exceptional teachers, he said. Hiring extraordinary teachers will rely on issues like pay incentives and retaining them will rely on involving them in decisions that affect their teaching and students.
Payne said his campaign comes down to improving communication between the community, teachers and the school board. He intends to use what he has learned over 34 years as an educator to bring the three together and make decisions that will most benefit students.