From: Tawni Branton
To: Dean Sanpei,
Subject: Please pass HB 228 on State Board elections
Date: Sun Mar 02 04:04:16 MST 2014

Dear Representative,

I fully support HB 228. I totally oppose the current system which makes it hard for anyone with a differing view from the Governor's selection committee to have a chance of getting onto the state board of education. I believe partisan elections are best for Utah because of the following reasons.

1. There should be partisan elections because everything involving money is political.
2. The NEA and the UEA are definitely partisan.
3. If you think schools are already conservative then nothing would change.
4. The state history standards have a number of very liberal statements like calling health care a right and calling the constitution a"living document". These are just a few of the examples that are very liberal progressive positions.
5. A partisan election would make delegates look at all the candidates very closely to see who would best fit their area's needs and fit with their party politics.
6. The time and money that the candidates would save by selling to the delegates instead of the public would mean that those with less would have a better chance.
7. Control over spending large amount of money is principle based. Partisan control helps put board members in that have a known ideology.
8. Texas did this and for the first time in history got a conservative majority on the state school board and created history standards that teach both sides of the story. 
9. State School Board Districts (15) are twice as big as State Senate Districts (29), and State School Board candidates never have the resources to even send one mailer to all the voters in their area. Voters who do not hear about a state school board member cannot make an informed vote. Nonpartisan elections are intended for small local races (like City Council) where you can presumably meet the candidate, and thus do not need a party affiliation.  But the 15 members of the State School Board in 2012 will likely have approximately 200,000 residents in their district!  There is no way they can meet with more than 20,000, under any circumstances.  In other words, party affiliation is absolutely necessary in any election on such a big scale.
10. The education budget of Utah is the largest single category of expenditures. Money is always partisan. Power flocks to money. Hiding behind the non-partisan curtain does not allow constituents to know where candidates stand on any issue. Members of the state school board support democratic bills over republican bills by a 2:1 margin according to a former state school board member. This does not represent the makeup of the state electorate.
11.Saying we don’t want political parties to influence school board elections guarantees that special interest groups will have greater say.
12. The vetting process of running through a convention race helps weed out unqualified candidates, but does so in a grassroots fashion.
13. Putting a party line affiliation next to a candidates name helps inform voters that may be unaware of where non-affiliated candidates stand on issues.

Thank you for your time,

Tawni Branton
Riverton UT