A governor-appointed committee has winnowed the list of candidates for seven seats on the state school board from about 70 to 37.
The remaining candidates are 22 men and 15 women, including four incumbents.
They include prominent candidates such as Mark Bouchard, former chair of Prosperity 2020, a business-led initiative to improve education in Utah; Pat Rusk, a UniServ director for the Utah Education Association; and Ruland Gill, a vice president with Questar Corporation and an oil and gas attorney.
The committee met last week and narrowed the list by ranking candidates based on their resumes and the answers they provided to six questions posed by the committee, said Nolan Karras, committee chairman and a former Utah House Speaker.
Next, the committee will meet June 2 and June 3 to interview the remaining candidates and vote on which ones to forward to the governor.
"Some of the people we eliminated I’m sure could serve well and were well-meaning and had good backgrounds and so forth," Karras said. "We were just trying to choose the best of the best."
The interviews and voting will be open to the public, though the committee may go into closed session to discuss individual candidates. Karras said he hopes to keep the proceedings as open as possible.
The committee will forward at least three candidates for each seat to the governor, who will then select two to appear on the ballot.
It’s a process that’s sparked criticism for years, with some saying it takes choice out of voters’ hands. In past years, the committee has sometimes knocked incumbents out of the running before even forwarding names to the governor, angering some education advocates.
Each member of the committee represents either an education or business interest.
So far this year, all the incumbents are still in the running, something that Karras said pleases him. But he said whether the committee forwards incumbents’ names to the governor will depend on the interviews and other factors.
District 3: Russell Bartholomew, Jared Hammer, Linda B. Hansen, Michael G. Jensen (incumbent), Tracey Marz, Jeffery D. Meservy, Garrick A. Hall.
District 2: Spencer F. Stokes, Willard Z. Maughan, Christie Moore, Jana Raw Shaw.
District 1: Bryce B. Day, David L. Clark, Terryl Warner (incumbent), Lydia Nuttal.
District 6: Dan Griffiths (incumbent), Brittany Cummins, Liz Taylor, Melissa K. Johnson, Pat Rusk, Alan Dean Kirkwood.
District 5: Breck England, Amy Hayter, Marlo M. Oaks, Daniel Rip, Brent L. Clyde, Mark H. Bouchard, Ruland Gill, Laura Collier Belnap.
District 9: Joel Wright, Kevin Braddy, Robin E. Allred, Joylin Lincoln, Heather Groom (incumbent).
District 14: Mike Miles, Mark A. Huntsman, Spencer Kimball.
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