School board candidate Art Brothers hopes to unite community
Art Brothers was hesitant at first when neighbors and other residents began encouraging him to run for a seat on the Park City Board of Education. But as the son of an educator, and someone who has long placed a high value on education, his mind began to change.
In the end, the chance to make a difference in the lives of students proved too much to pass up. Brothers is running for the Board of Education’s open seat in District 3, which comprises areas such as Park Meadows South, Park West, Silver Springs and Ranch Road South. He will face challengers Moe Hickey, Kevin Kennedy and Petra Butler.
"Frankly, my initial reaction was, ‘No,’ but then I thought, ‘If I’m being asked, perhaps it is time to give back,’" he said. "Hopefully I can give something good to the community. I almost think the process of running gives you opportunity to give input to the situation. Whether you win or not, it brings some good. My objective is to help improve the situation in any way that I reasonably can."
Brothers said his main mission, if elected, would be to act in the best interests of students. To that end, he sees himself as someone who can help the Board of Education move in the right direction and make decisions that are good for students — and that the community will support. He said the Board moved a little too fast last year to get its $56 million bond measure on the ballot and that there wasn’t enough communication with residents. He wants to find a way to unite the community after the controversial bond campaign.
"One of the things I do well is find consensus — looking for and listening to what other people have to say, then integrating it into the ideas that I see," he said. "I’d look for feedback and bounce it back and forth, so that we can get to the best answer. I don’t know that I have a particular agenda. But rather, what I’m looking for is a way to get us past the failed bond deal, which was rather divisive. A divided community is not a community that makes as much progress as it would like to make."
Another goal is providing more resources for Hispanic students. Brothers’ mother is an immigrant from Holland, and his background has taught him that ensuring every student is positioned to excel must be a top priority.
"I’m only one generation off the boat, so I respect those who come here seeking a better way of life," he said. "And I recognize that we have a fairly significant group of non-English speakers. Integrating them into the system, to help them receive the benefits school has to offer, is important to me. I think they bring life and light to our community, and I would like to see us support them appropriately."
Brothers, a Realtor, moved to Park City in 1990 and raised six kids — two of whom are still attending school in town. He said his children have thrived in schools here, and he hopes to help other students succeed, too. Another top priority is giving teachers and administrators everything they need to "instill a love of learning in our children."
"If we can do that, I believe we’ll continue to improve the school district by leaps and bounds," he said. "I don’t believe there’s any reason why we can’t have the best school district in America. It may take a while to get there — we’ve moved up in the rankings and moved down in the rankings — but let’s move up as opposed to down. Let’s do better."
Brothers, along with Hickey, Kennedy and Butler, will be on the June 28 primary ballot, where two candidates will be eliminated. The two with the most votes will move on to the November general election.
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The Park City Board of Education is on track to place a bond on the ballot this fall to improve district facilities. The top priorities would be to put ninth grade in the high school, eighth grade in the middle school and to augment preschool offerings by expanding elementary schools.