Utah’s New State School Board Superintendent
The educational challenges faced by Utah will now fall under the purview of new State School Board Superintendent Brad Smith, formerly superintendent in the Ogden, UT, school district. Under Smith’s three-year leadership, the Ogden district made increases in graduation rates and literacy test scores. In the process, however, about one-half of the district’s 725 teachers left. The State School Board has expressed high confidence in Smith’s turnaround abilities.
Utah’s State Board of Education Elections
KUER (90.1, NPR Utah) reported earlier this month that SB104 would have made Utah’s State School Board elections partisan to “fix the disconnect that exists between people running for state school board and the people that elect them.” The bill sponsor was Senator Alvin B. Jackson, and the floor sponsor was Representative Keven J. Stratton. The House defeated the proposed bill.
Members of the Utah legislature, however, did not give up: Senator Ann Millner (bill sponsor) and Representative Francis D. Gibson (floor sponsor) proposed, and the Senate passed, a bill (SJR 005) that would “amend the Utah Constitution to . . . repeal language providing for the election of members of the State Board of Education; and provide for members of the State Board of Education to be appointed by the Governor, with the consent of the Senate.” This proposed bill also failed to pass the House and did not become law.