School board candidates draw contrasts as races near end
November 1, 2016
With Election Day less than a week away, and some residents having already mailed in their ballots, candidates for the Park City Board of Education are making their final pushes to reach out to voters.
In the District 2 race between Andrew Caplan and Peter Yogman, the campaign has centered, in part, on whether the age of a candidate's children should matter to voters. Caplan, who has two young children who will be in district schools for years to come, said that separates him from Yogman, whose children have graduated from Park City High School.
Caplan said his perspective would be particularly valuable on the school board because the concerns of parents with younger children are sometimes different than those of other residents.
"I'm doing this because I have a passion to serve and am very interested in education in Park City, and I have been for a number of years," he said. "My candidacy is a continuation of that. I feel strongly that families and working families in this district should be represented on the school board, especially ones with younger children."
Yogman, however, questioned whether that difference should matter. He said he has tried to focus on other issues, such as how he intends to build community consensus around important topics if elected. He said he would work hard to educate the populace about the pros and cons of issues such as capital projects, incorporate their feedback, then find the right solution.
"To say that you have a passion for school, or a passion for children, I think is a distinction without a difference," he said, referencing a talking point Caplan has used on the campaign trail. "We all have a passion for schools and a passion for children. That should not be the deciding factor between us. I think you have to look at other things, like does experience count? Does your deep knowledge of the issues count? Does your perhaps-better ability to build consensus count? How important are those?"
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In District 3, Petra Butler, a newcomer to the public arena in Park City, is aiming to position herself as the change candidate in her race with Moe Hickey, who served on the school board previously before relinquishing his seat when he moved out of his previous district.
Butler said her background as an FBI special agent gives her a different perspective, and different ideas, than Hickey, who worked in finance and has been involved in education in Park City for years.
"I think it's really going to come down to whether people want a change with regard to our school board," she said. "If they feel that something new is needed to address the current issues that we have, I think they're going to vote for somebody new. If they're very comfortable with what they have on the school board, I think Moe is going to be your candidate. I think we're both very qualified."
Hickey is countering Butler with a message that experience matters. He said his previous time on the school board makes him more qualified to handle issues facing the district such as figuring out long-term capital needs, closing the opportunity gap and increasing revenue for the classroom.
He added that the boards he served on implemented initiatives such as the preschool program, expanding dual-language immersion, increasing the number of Advanced Placement programs offered at Park City High School and creating the Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies.
"If people think those programs were bad, then maybe they want to vote for change," he said. "But if people think those programs were an asset to the school district and us heading in the right direction, then I think they know what they're getting with me. And I have no problem standing on that."
In the South Summit School District, Eric Rose is squaring off against Suni Woolstenhulme for the District 1 seat. In District 2, Dan Eckert is facing Cynthia Card.
There are no contested seats in the North Summit School District.