Utah State School Board

At least three state school board members lost their re-election bids this year, and three others decided not to seek another term.

Election Day was an upset for every incumbent running for re-election to the state school board-although the jury is still out on the race between incumbent Teryl Warner and David Clark. Clark is leading by just 57 votes, which is too close to call until the tally is finalized November 18th.

Ogden School District Superintendent Brad Smith has accepted a position as Utah’s next Superintendent of public instruction. A divided school board picked Smith out of four candidates on Friday. 

Joe Gratz via flickr

U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups ruled this morning that Utah must add two candidates who were rejected by the state’s controversial state school board election process to the November election ballot. The order comes after Waddoups ruled last week that the current process is unconstitutional.

Utah State Board of Education

The nominating committee tasked with narrowing the pool of Utah State School Board candidates began interviewing applicants this morning. The governor-appointed group is questioning 36 candidates from 6 districts about funding, the role of the state board and the controversial common core standards.

Utah won’t be subjecting state school board candidates to partisan elections this year. House Bill 228, sponsored by Republican Representative Brian Greene, would have done away with the current process of choosing candidates for the ballot in favor of partisan election. The House narrowly voted it down on Friday.

Right now, a seven-member committee appointed by the governor is responsible for recruiting and vetting candidates. The governor then takes the committee’s recommendations and narrows the list down to two candidates for each district.

A Republican State lawmaker from Bountiful wants to change the way state school board members in Utah are elected to office, and he hopes to leave politics out of the equation. 

Right now, a seven-member committee appointed by the Governor is responsible for vetting state school board candidates. That group sends it’s nominations to the governor who then selects two candidates for each position. House Bill 59, sponsored by State Representative Jim Nielson would get rid of that committee and the governor’s role in process.