Seven candidates face primary battles for school board seats
June 5, 2012
Students, teachers, school board members and community members attended a discussion forum at The Park City High School on May 31. The high school’s student government and district faculty sponsored the event that introduced the seven candidates running for two seats on the Park City Board of Education for the 2012-2013 school year.
The candidates running in District 2 include Eric Oberg, Nancy Garrison, and Ron Huggins. Community members living in Highland Estates East and West, Park Meadows North, Ranch Place and Snyder Mill are a part of this district. The candidates running in District 3 include Anne Bransford, Kristin Brown, Paul Marsh and Tania Knauer. Neighborhoods represented by District 3 include Park West, Park Meadows South, Quarry Mountain, Ranch Road South and Silver Springs.
Forum facilitator and Park City High School teacher Jess Morrison asked candidates what they believed is the role of a board member. Candidates were also asked to define one thing the school board is doing successfully and one thing they would change.
Garrison said the role of a board member is to work collaboratively with the business administrator and superintendent to come up with the Strategic Plan. She added that she appreciates the schools board’s efforts to support innovative programs, including the one-to-one computer initiative, and the dual immersion program. One thing she said the school board needs to change is its spending.
Huggins said the school board members and community shareholders need to be on the same page.
"I think that we have great people on the board and in these communities and if we can align, I think we can achieve this level of transparency and have a great school district." he said.
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Oberg advocated collecting more data and using it to assess student learning and evaluating teachers.
"I don’t think we have rich enough data that we constantly refer to, but we need to be looking at what is the effect of this program," he said. "It’s all about personnel development and we need to invest in them (teachers). I’m shocked that we don’t have an annual review process. The best teachers will crave that feedback and we need to be dedicated and committed."
According to Marsh, who comes from a family of educators, it’s a board member’s obligation to listen and collect feedback.
"The role of an individual board member is to be a listener of the teachers and the community much of the way it would work in a family. Our role is to listen," Marsh said. "I think it’s critical and it’s imperative as candidates to act as a facilitator in the process. "
Knauer agreed with Marsh, adding that the school board has done a good job looking at opportunities, but now might be the time to take a step back and evaluate.
"We’ve taken on a lot of things that we’ve implemented and now it’s time to take a look at these and assess what they are doing before we go off and do more," she said. "I think you have to look at the revenue and the expense and it’s too bad we haven’t done that over the years and were stuck doing that all in one year."
According to Bransford, who is an incumbent running for re-lection, each board member needs to act as a part of a team.
"You are just one board member and collectively you are a board and you are a team. Unfortunately, we did not have a crystal ball. One of my platforms was communication and developing the strategic plan," she said. "We have to take that plan and work with it. The communication always needs to be improved."
Brown said it’s important to not only collect information from the community, but also from the students. She said functioning as a team should be the school board’s collective goal. Brown said she was asked to be on the Budget Advisory Committee this year and that’s what sparked her interest in running for a school board seat.
Each candidate will be featured in The Park Record’s Voter Guide. The guide is scheduled to be published on June 13.