Learning who’s who on the new school board | SummitDaily.com

Learning who’s who on the new school board

Janice Kurbjun
summit daily news

Editor’s note: The Summit Daily News plans to run a series of candidate biographies, starting this week.

Two forums are slated for Thursday and Oct. 10 for the Summit County public to learn more about candidates running for the Summit School District Board of Education.

Incumbents Alison Casias, Brad Piehl and Erin Young plan to be present, as do Keystone Science School’s school programs director Dave Miller and Sue Wilcox, assistant director for the Center for Science and Public Policy at The Keystone Center.

The forums, sponsored by the Summit County Education Association (SCEA), are designed to provide information to those who seek it.

“We do not endorse candidates,” SCEA president Mark Clark said. “We are about providing opportunities for staff and community and parents to be informed.”

The forums will be held at opposite ends of the county to help a variety of people attend. Thursday’s forum runs 6-7:30 p.m. at Breckenridge Elementary School and the following Monday, Oct. 10, candidates will appear from 6-7:30 p.m. at Dillon Valley Elementary School.

Clark said the format differs from two years ago, when candidates sat on a panel and answered questions from the public.

This time, five stations are set up, each representing a different topic: Curriculum initiatives, school finance, the role of the local school board, legislative initiatives and an open question-and-answer section. Candidates will rotate through each area. Participants can choose to sit at a single table to hear each candidates’ point of view, or they can choose to move with a candidate to hear his or her viewpoints on each issue.

“It’s so candidates can actually dialogue with voters instead of having questions shot at them,” Clark said.

He said the curriculum initiatives topic isn’t limited to equal access. It also includes major standards modifications at the state level and International Baccalaureate implementation, for example. Legislative issues may touch mostly on Senate Bill 191, the teacher and principal evaluation legislation, but others exist as well.

It’s important for the public to be engaged in the upcoming election (ballots are sent on Oct. 11) because “the decisions the school board makes either helps us achieve instructional excellence or can be counterproductive to that,” Clark said, adding that constantly changing directions makes it hard to implement tactics with fidelity and focus.

The school board, he said, is the “supporting cast,” along with parents and the broader community, for teachers doing the best they can for children in the classroom.

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