State School Board Candidates to Face Off Onstage

Decisions made by the Utah State School Board directly affect the state’s 643,000 public school students and their families, teachers and administrators. From establishing state academic standards to determining teacher licensure, the members of the board have a great impact on our state.

In order to help voters make the best choice during the general election, the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools, Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, Sutherland Institute, United Way of Salt Lake and KSL/Deseret News have teamed up as the Utah Education Debate Coalition to host public debates with the candidates. 

“State school board positions often get overlooked by higher-profile offices, but these individuals shape the future for Utah students and teachers,” said Royce Van Tassell, executive director of the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools.

Boyd Matheson, president of Sutherland Institute, said, “All the partners in the school board debates recognized that we were really missing an important component this election cycle – that is, creating space for citizens to vet candidates and have a conversation about education.”

“The state school board debates will allow Utahns to ask questions, explore the issues, and engage with the candidates,” said Jason Perry, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics. “Ultimately, this initiative will empower voters in these critical, yet often overlooked, elections.”

“When you think about the role education plays in every aspect of our lives, from having a healthy democracy in the first place to having a healthy economy, knowing what we’re choosing when it comes to setting education policy could not be more important,” said Bill Crim, president and CEO of United Way of Salt Lake.

Audio recordings of each debate will be available at