Four candidates vie for school board seats
The South Summit School District faces major challenges with growth, and where to house the new students according to superintendent Tim Smith. "Down the road we’ll have to look at options," he said. The obvious answer would be to build a new school, "but that might not be the best idea or economically be the best idea," he explained. Four candidates vying for two school board seats gave their views on district challenges, and what they could bring to the board, days before the Nov. 7 election.
Although both races are contested, the campaigns have been progressing quietly.
"I have pretty much not heard anything from the candidates," said Smith. "We have two individuals running for a vacated seat and I don’t know what they’re up to or what they want to accomplish," he said. The candidates are Karl Wagstaff and Matt Flinders for South Summit District 5, which includes Marian and Peoa.
"In the previous years I’ve been here there has been an attitude of no one wanting to get on the board. "Now it’s more! ‘I don’t want to see a candidate run unopposed.’" Smith said, adding that he believes there is little discontent with the South Summit School district.
Candidate Matt Flinders believes the most important issue facing the district is growth, but he would also like to ensure teachers "are in a situation to succeed," he said. He stressed the need for open communication between parents and administrators.
Flinders said owning a business and not being an educator, gives him a more objective outlook than his opponent. "I do have four kids in school, and I care a great deal about education," he said.
Candidate Karl Wagstaff sees the major challenges to the district as "growth and the influx of diversity," he said. "I think we’ll have unprecedented growth in coming years. I feel like Park City is moving to Kamas." He said he would like to see an increasing honors curriculum, which would emphasize students’ attaining college degrees.
Wagstaff believes his 15 years as a teacher gives him experience that would be helpful on the board.
In the South Summit District 4 race, including the area from Grassy Creek to Kamas, west of 100 East, write-in candidate Marve L. Mitchell is challenging incumbent Philip W. Marchant.
Mitchell sees growth as the major concern for the district. "I would consider consolidating North, South, and maybe Park City school districts into one district or keeping the three existing districts and adding a fourth.
Mitchell said his opponent is a good friend, but that somebody should not run unopposed. "I’d like to take a shot at giving kids a proper education, where a proper education took priority over sports," he said.
Incumbent Philip W. Marchant believes growth will be the major issue facing the district. "With new growth comes new challenges, culture and lifestyle in the learning environment, and we’ll have to work with that," he said. He said he does not see a need for new schools for at least five years, but new schools have to be planned for.
He believes having two children in South Summit schools now is to his advantage. "I’m in schools all the time seeing what’s going on. I feel I’m more involved," he said.
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