School Board Election Vacated School Board seat up for grabs
On Nov. 2, one of two candidates will be elected to the Park City School Board district 5, vacated by Kathryn Adair, who is stepping down after two terms.
Michael Boyle and Charles Cunningham are vying for the seat in District 5, which includes Olympic Park, Lower Pinebrook / Ranch Estates, Timberline and Summit Park. The School Board position is a non partisan four-year term.
"Not often is a board position so hotly contested," David Chaplin, the School Board Predident said. "It’s going to be very interesting to look at."
Current board member Kim Carson is running unopposed in district 4. The three other board members, Chaplin, Vern Christensen and Lisa Kirchenhetier.
"I’m finishing my eighth year. I feel it’s time for someone else to give it a whirl," Adair said.
Adair sees the biggest challenge for the School Board and the new board member is the budget.
Candidate Michael Boyle stresses the importance of "all students getting the best possible education." "Every child who walks in the door of a school deserves an education. Do we want to deny them an education, or do we want them to become contributing members of society? Educating all children is an obligation we have to accept responsibility for," he said. "If their parents are working in the community, they are paying taxes."
When asked of alternatives in education such as home schooling, private schools and charter schools, Boyle welcomes them.
"Absolutely. We can all co-exist together," he said. "But I would not want to see public education funds leave public education institutions. They need every dollar they can get." "If tax dollars are removed from a public education, it does a disservice to the community," he said.
Boyle acknowledges Utah Schools are lacking in funding.
"We certainly need more funding," he said.
He said that until more money is available, Park City School District must be especially prudent with spending.
Concerning No Child Left Behind, Boyle said it is good to bring attention to every child.
"But it is too broad based to be all things to all people," he said.
Boyle said he is running because he wants to have the "opportunity to give back." Boyle has a son attending school in Park City. Boyle said a board member asked him to run, and he got support from family, teachers and friends. Boyle, a manager for a water reclamation district, said he has a background in business and is experienced handling large budgets.
The School Board recently approved Park City High School’s reconstruction be environmentally certified, requiring it to meet stringent energy conservation standards. Boyle said that energy conservation and that energy costs can only go up.
Boyle has begun his campaigning.
"I want to know what they are thinking. I can’t represent them without knowing what their goals and desires are. Even those without kids," he said.
Candidate Charles Cunningham said Park City schools must find a balance of "education excellence with budget responsibility, not spending too much in the short term at the expense of long-term goals."
Cunningham sees the importance of all students receiving an equal education.
"As the Park City demographic changes with a growing population of English as a second language students, Park City has to find a way to bring all along, even those who are struggling," he said.
District 5, according to Cunningham, "is unique in its expanding area of growth, how do we deal with the growth and where we place the children," he said. "We have to make sure we make room for these kids."
Cunningham said he has been a business lawyer for 25 years and is experienced in budgeting and long-range planning. He has three children attending Park City schools.
"Education on a national level has performed very, very poorly. Public schools are a mess," Cunningham said.
He would like to see merit-based pay for teachers and administrators, financially rewarding those who excel. He said of No Child Left Behind, "I am not a huge fan of national testing. I want as much local control over the process."
Considering Utah’s school budget, Cunningham said, "Current funding is woefully inadequate. But also don’t improve schools by throwing money at them. I’m a proponent of saving money and cutting costs. Some funds should be redirected from other programs to education," he said.
Of things Cunningham wants people to know about him: "I believe in traditional values. School is not a place for social experiments," he said. " We should stick to the basics of math, science and English."
When asked of alternatives in education such as home schooling, private schools and charter schools, Cunningham said they are "excellent."
"Public school has to find a way to match them. Private school has merit pay, less bureaucracy and a better education for children," he said.
On the School Board’s recent decision to get the Park City High School reconstruction LEED certified, meeting stringent energy conservation standards, Cunningham said. "It’s good to emphasize. I applaud that."
Cunningham plans to begin campaigning soon.
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.