Salt Lake City, UT – Today, H.J.R. 13 “Proposal to Amend Utah Constitution — State Board of Education,” was heard in the House Education Committee and ultimately was held in the committee for further long-term study. Currently, members of the State Board of Education are elected by the voters of Utah. H.B. 242 and H.J.R. 13 would have turned these into positions that are appointed by the Governor.
“Direct elections are the best way to hold public officials accountable,” said Chase Thomas, executive director for the ABU Education Fund. “Rather than increasing accountability, this proposal would have done the opposite. Those running for governor do so on a platform built from many issues, not just education governance.”
“We are pleased with the decision to hold this legislation with the intent to have a task force study the issue further. By that point, we hope the Utah Supreme Court will have issued a ruling in our ongoing partisan school board case. We also hope this will lead to a more thorough examination into the pros and cons of governance structures that is simply not possible during a 45-day legislative session.”
In 2017, the ABU Education Fund filed a lawsuit against the State of Utah to challenge the 2016 law, SB 78, establishing partisan elections for the State Board of Education. They joined with the Utah PTA, Utahns for Public Schools, and several individuals to challenge this law. Last year, the case was heard before the Utah Supreme Court after the state appealed the decision by a lower court in favor of the plaintiffs. A decision from the Supreme Court is still pending.
The ABU Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing a strong, educational voice by creating resources that advance civic engagement and good governance. For more information, visit their website here.