ST. GEORGE – Two of four candidates for the state school board spoke at a Dixie Republican Forum Tuesday while a third candidate’s wife represented her husband at the event which was held at the Washington County Commission Chambers.
Four candidates are running for District 15, which comprises much of Washington and Iron counties. Michelle Boulter, Neil Walter, Wesley Christiansen and Scott Smith are running for the office; Smith declined to participate in the forum and Neil Walter had other commitments so Michelle Walter spoke for him.
The non-partisan District 15 candidates who will be on the June 28th primary ballot. The top two finishers in the primary will move on to the November election.
Christiansen, Boulter and Walter all spoke against federal overreach and the strings that come with accepting federal money for education. They also agreed that the Common Core curriculum should be abandoned.
Boulter is a mother of three and has worked at a charter school. She said she decided to run for office after contacting the state school board for documents and receiving only “talking points.” She had to request the documents through the Government Records Access and Management Act, or GRAMA, in order to read them.
Utah gets 10 percent of education funding from the federal government but are giving up “100 percent of our freedom.”
“I’m running to restore local control and bring control back to the parents,” she said.
Christiansen also wants to be elected to fight for local control over education. He taught school for 31 years, spent 13 years working at Dixie State University and 12 years on the Washington County School District Board of Education.
“It was really frustrating because we had no local control,” he said. “It seemed like everything we did we were forced to enforce federal rules, federal mandates that we didn’t believe in, that we didn’t want.”
Neil Walter has six children, five of school age who attend local charter and district school, Michelle Walter said.
Neil Walter is a financial analyst, owns and manages realty companies, has taught at Dixie State University and serves as chairman of the board at Vista Charter school, Michelle Walter said.
“Neil is running for state school board because he is a problem solver,” she said.
The Utah Legislature passed a bill in March of 2016 which will make school board races partisan after the 2016 election. In 2018, candidates for the state school board will run as Democrats or Republicans, according to KUER.org.
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