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State School Board Loses At Least Six Incumbents

At least three state school board members lost their re-election bids this year, and three others decided not to seek another term.

Election Day was an upset for every incumbent running for re-election to the state school board-although the jury is still out on the race between incumbent Teryl Warner and David Clark. Clark is leading by just 57 votes, which is too close to call until the tally is finalized November 18th.

Those who didn’t run for re-election included Kim Burningham, who served 16 years on the board, Keith Buswell, who served four years and Debra Roberts, who served 12 years.

Roberts, who also served as board chair for five years says the personalities who are not inclined to compromise now remain on the board. She suspects the shakeup will be a difficult transition.   

“In my 12 years on the board, I’ve never seen the board as disparate,” Roberts says. “I mean it’s always healthy to have differing points of view but I’ve never seen it where it’s such a fundamental difference in approach and process of the thinking and processes of what they want to take place as what’s happening right now.”

David Crandall currently chairs the state school board. He says he was surprised that so many incumbents were defeated. But he expects the transition to move more smoothly.

“I would say it’s more diverse than it has been in previous years,” Crandall says. “So you do get differences of opinion and perhaps more divided votes because of that diversity. From my perspective I think it’s a good thing. It adds to the strength of the board to have a more diverse set of opinions.”

Michael Jensen represented District three for eight years before he was unseated this election.  

Incumbents David Griffiths and Heather Groom were both appointed to fill school-board vacancies in 2013. Both also lost their election bids on Tuesday.   

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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