Be Sure to Vote, Especially on Education-Related Issues

Kim BurninghamLike me, I suspect a number of you have already voted.  

Many others will do so shortly. I hope by election day all of you will have participated. Because of the unusually contentious race at the top of the ticket, many people I talk to are almost apathetic. Some have even said, “I think I’ll skip it this time.” Please don’t. No matter how you may feel about the presidential race, I strongly urge you to move “down-ballot” and make your will known on lesser-publicized issues. A number of these votes relate directly to education. Go clear to the bottom and make sure you speak up on matters that will have major impact upon our schools.
I make the following recommendations:
Vote in favor of constitutional amendment B
Since its inception, the School Trust Lands Fund has grown dramatically. The proposed constitutional amendment will still maintain important limits on expenditures of trust land monies, but in keeping with prudent financial constraints, this amendment will, I understand, allow a more “stable, predictable, and fair” appropriation to local schools and could provide additional money for our local schools. The measure is supported by diverse voices including education leaders, Utah PTA, and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.
Vote for strong, experienced education leaders to sit on the State School Board
Half of the State School Board (on which I formerly had membership for 16 years and served as chair for 7 of those years) is up for re-election this cycle. Voters have an opportunity to support candidates who understand by their experience the needs of education and to strengthen our State Board. I do not know all candidates running, but I do know some. I believe the Board would be made stronger by the membership of people like Jennifer Graviet (former statewide teacher of the year), Carol Lear (strong legal expert on educational matters), Janet Cannon (a tenacious and determined education advocate who served as my vice-chair during all the years I served as chair), Dixie Allen(experienced and insightful leader in the schools), and Wes Christensen (experience educator, currently employed by Dixie State University). If you live an area to be represented by one of these people, please give them your serious consideration.
Vote to elect thoughtful, understanding members of local School Boards
Vital decisions regarding education are frequently made at the local level by local Boards. It is vital for competent people who understand the education system, students, and their parents to be selected to serve. I urge all people to find out the details regarding the candidates running for these positions in their local area. In my own area of Bountiful, I am particularly supportive of John Robison and Rick Call. You will need to investigate the various candidates running in your area.
The decisions I have listed here are critical to a strong education system. I urge you all to become knowledgeable on these questions and make the best decision. Our students deserve the best.