Please help bring back HB 228 – Partisan School Board Elections

Alisa Ellis sent this great letter to her House Representative and gave permission to post it here.

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My state school board rep is a really nice lady but she doesn’t feel accountable to the people.  I’ve been working on these education issues for 3 years and in that time she’s emailed me back a handful of times but has NEVER met with me.  I’ve asked her to lunch.  We’ve invited her to come to meetings in Heber but she’s declined all invitations or else something has come up. This is in large part because of the way the state board is elected.  THEY DO NOT FEEL ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE.

This is exhausting.  When I first started pushing back against the centralization of powers over education, I tried going to my local board and superintendent.  They told me this was out of their hands and they had to do what the state told them.

Next I tried the state board.  I went up to give a two minute speech and was quickly pulled into a little room where staff members tried to “teach me” about how wrong I was in my analysis. They told me my local school board was implementing this wrong and that I needed to go back to the local board and let them know.

Well, I’d been there and done that so I met the Governor at a candidate night and he agreed to sit down and discuss my concerns.  He told me that his office has nothing to do with this and that I needed to go talk to someone else.

I only had one option left — the legislature.  The legislature has been the most responsive by far of any other government body but they too throw up their hands and tell me there is nothing they can do and send me on my way.  They send me back to the school board.  When I go back to the school board…… THEY BLAME THE LEGISLATORS!!

While each branch of government fights about who is in charge it is us, the people, that are left without a voice.  This bill isn’t about putting politics in education.  It’s about giving the people back their voice and making the state board feel accountable to the people not to the “educrats”.  Please help – Say yes to HB228

Thank you,

Alisa Ellis

 

3 thoughts on “Please help bring back HB 228 – Partisan School Board Elections”

  1. This is the response I got back from Kraig Powell. What are your thoughts?

    Dear David:

    Thank you for writing to me about our state school board elections. I believe that we need to change the election process so that citizens can have a direct voice in electing their state school board members, rather than the exclusive nominating committee that we currently have. That is why I have voted this year to allow direct elections for these positions. I do not believe, however, that the majority of my constituents support making the school board elections partisan. There seems to be a general feeling that this would only further polarize our educational policies and take the focus off of sound instructional practices and what is simply best for students.

    I do appreciate you taking the time to share your views with me on this matter.

    Sincerely,

    Kraig Powell​

    1. A possible response:

      The problem is that the school board elections are already partisan; only the public isn’t in on the information. The governor and other people on committees understand the political leanings of the people the reject and recommend. Having partisan school board elections will help the public understand the basic premise from which a candidate’s ideology about public education stems and will let us in on the process. Every other elected office of the state is partisan. The state school board should not be an exception. Please vote in favor of HB228.
      Carie Valentine

  2. This is what Rep. Webb wrote back to me:

    Amy,
    This issue has been voted on and has failed almost very year I have been in the legislature. For me education is politicized enough by the legislature. The school board needs to be responsive but objective. Obviously the legislature (which is extremely partisan) feels that partisan elections would impair that objectivity.
    Thanks Amy,
    Rep. Webb

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