School Board Candidates Share Views on Education Issues

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The current candidates for the Alpine School District school board were questioned about some of the most pertinent issues relating to bonding, common core and why locals should vote for them. Each of their answers follow:

Karrie Wilbur

School Board Candidates_Karrie Wilbur

      1. Do you support the currently proposed bond? Under what circumstances do you feel bonding should be pursued? What other methods do you see for handling the growth in our school district, particularly Lehi?

I do support the bond. Paying to educate our children is investing in our future. Sometimes this can be painful, but it must be a priority.

      2. Common Core has become a huge issue in the presidential and gubernatorial races. What do you think about Common Core, and what do you see as your role in relation to it as a district school board member?

As an educator, I am very familiar with the Common Core, the good and the bad. There has always been a set of standards that teachers were expected to use to guide the instruction. This has been determined by the State Board of Education. Then districts have tweaked it and teachers have used it often needing multiple text books and other resources to accomplish the task. And, when families moved from place to place, children struggled with adjusting to the new standards. This often left them with holes that were never filled.

Governors and educators came up with the Common Core as a way to solve this problem. In some ways they have been successful and in other ways there is room for improvement which the State Board of Education should look at. However, high stakes tests were attached and teacher pay was affected raising the stakes even higher. This extreme pressure has caused real angst for families and educators alike.

      3. Why should people vote for you?

I teach my 5th grade students to learn about what is going on around them and use their voice to make a difference. I care deeply about children and families. I want use my voice to do my part to promote the best possible educational opportunities for our children.

Miriam Ellis Wang

Miriam Ellis Wang.

      1. Do you support the currently proposed bond? Under what circumstances do you feel bonding should be pursued? What other methods do you see for handling the growth in our school district, particularly Lehi?

Growth is an urgent and continuous concern in Lehi and residents are understandably frustrated by the district’s inability to keep up. It isn’t an easy problem to solve, especially with limited funds. The use of impact fees paid by developers to help build infrastructure would be preferred, if allowed, but until voters lobby for state legislation allowing them, bonding is probably our best option.

I suspect that $386K may be too high. I’d like to carefully scrutinize every corner of our budget to eliminate waste and insure that each dollar is used wisely. I believe it is the responsibility of the board to thoroughly exhaust every other possibility before presenting a bond to voters. If we have to bond, ASD has a history of managing it well, compared to other school districts.

      2. Common Core has become a huge issue in the presidential and gubernatorial races. What do you think about Common Core, and what do you see as your role in relation to it as a district school board member?

While Common Core standards themselves are mostly fine, albeit excessive, they are interconnected with intrusive federal mandates. I am in favor of rejecting the mandates, along with the standards, and setting basic benchmarks at the state level to allow districts and teachers greater flexibility in their classrooms. There are teachers who thrive with detailed checklists of standards and some that yearn for more flexibility in their jobs. I trust them as professionals to make those decisions and I trust local school administrators to oversee them appropriately.

Each child is an individual and I think they will benefit from having important decisions made as close to the classroom as possible. Standards created in a distant location by individuals appointed by unelected experts don’t support this structure.

Districts have some power to affect change at the state level by insisting we retain sovereignty in education. If we don’t do this at the local level, it is unlikely to happen at all.

      3. Why should people vote for you?

It’s time for Lehi to elect someone that represents parents, taxpayers, and voters to the board, not the other way around.

Scott Carlson

School Board Candidates_Scott Carlson

      1. Do you support the currently proposed bond? Under what circumstances do you feel bonding should be pursued? What other methods do you see for handling the growth in our school district, particularly Lehi?

As a current member of the school board assigned to the building and grounds committee, I have studied our growth needs and how to pay for them. Here is a summary of the issues with the options we have discussed:

  • Using capital funds for building would cause a serious maintenance deficit.
  • Leasing new schools would create a situation in which the public would not have input prior to incurring new debt.
  • Not building means that we will not meet the needs of our children.
  • Impact fees would be a great option, but they’re not currently allowed by Utah law.
  • Bonding is the option that I recommend and support as the most cost effective and transparent option available.

      2. Common Core has become a huge issue in the presidential and gubernatorial races. What do you think about Common Core, and what do you see as your role in relation to it as a district school board member?

Schools are established to assist families. Increased parental involvement is critical. Please volunteer at your school and dedicate your energy to assisting your own children every day.

Local control is better than big government forcing its values. To me, local means parents, students, teachers. All other levels of education are to support student success at that local level. Federal intrusion should be reduced. Please join me in asking our state and federal officials to support measures to make this happen. The Utah Legislature should reduce the number of education bills each year and leave local issues to be addressed by local elected officials.

      3. Why should people vote for you?

I support public education and love to see the success of all students. As a third generation Lehi resident, my children have/are being educated in our Lehi public schools (Sego Lily, LJHS, LHS and Skyridge).

I support building a third junior high and two more elementaries in Lehi, and finishing the rebuilding of Lehi High School during the next four years.

My experience brings high value representation to Lehi. I know the place of a board member and work well with the rest of the board to meet the needs of students.  I will work to represent you and your students.

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