Incumbents appeared to win big Tuesday in a state school board election that grabbed little limelight but could have a sizable impact on Utah classrooms.
All six incumbents had either won their races or led their opponents as returns continued to roll in early Wednesday morning, though in at least one case, by a very slim margin, according to incomplete results. The 15-member board will also include at least three newcomers who won races with no incumbents.
Incumbent Leslie Brooks Castle, who led the District 7 state school board race with more than 75 percent of the vote, said she felt honored by the support.
“I’ve tried to be a voice that represents the interests of Salt Lake and Park City, and I think it is a little different constituency than the rest of the state,” Castle said.
Incumbent and current state school board Vice Chairwoman Dixie Allen also won another four years on the board, according to unofficial results. Allen said she’s eager to continue work implementing new Common Core state standards and revising the way teachers are evaluated.
Though Allen has already served on the board for nine years, she’ll now serve a new district, District 12, as a result of redistricting.
“It’s a different region and some different populations I’m serving,” Allen said Tuesday night, noting that her new district has more charter schools than her former one. “There’s some different, new issues out there I need to take on.”
Meanwhile, at least one race remained very tight early Wednesday in District 10 between Nina Marie Welker and incumbent Dave Crandall.
The 15-member board guides and oversees the state’s charter schools and 41 school districts. The board makes decisions about what’s taught in Utah classrooms, the tests students take, how teachers are evaluated, which charter schools may open and a number of other issues.