South Seat Candidate Challenges Wasatch County School District Incumbent
The Wasatch County School District Board of Education has three open seats this term.
KPCW has highlights from the interview done with Candidate Marianne B. Allen who is running for the South District seat. Her opponent is incumbent Mark Davis. KPCW reached out to Davis but did not receive a response.
Marianne B. Allen was a teacher and coach before moving to Heber seven years ago. She’s been involved in city, county and school district activism including the Wasatch School District Safety Committee which placed officers in the schools. She’s also worked on the committee to update the Heber City General Plan.
With the thousands of homes slated to be built in the next decade in Wasatch County, Allen says the need for a new high school is inevitable. She thinks the failure of the $150 million bond last year occurred because voters didn’t have enough engagement in the process or buy-in beforehand.
“And so, I asked a lot of questions during the bond. I had people come to me to ask the questions because they knew I was a teacher I'm all about questions. I firmly believe in asking questions in a respectful way and with dignity to further growth and to collaborate, but I think you have to be open to those questions. I feel like if we can reach out to the community us Billy and find out do you want 3A - 4A schools, or do you want 5A – 6A schools? We should not bond for another 5A – 6A school if we're not going to fill it to capacity.”
Allen says the COVID pandemic has changed how education is delivered. She says it’s important for children to be in school, especially young kids. She believes teachers are the best tool in their toolbox and they must be brought into the planning process.
“Even if we bond for another school or another couple of schools, the reality is, even on an optimistic timeline, we’re four years out and we’re overcrowded now so we have to have short-term solutions now. And so, consulting our teachers, that has to be done, it needs to be done, they are the experts. And supporting them is what we need to do as a community and as a board.”
Allen has great respect for everyone running for elected office. Her priorities are to use her skills to build coalitions, foster good working relationships by balancing the needs of the community and the schools. She wants to increase transparency.
“Nothing against Mark. I appreciate his service. Everyone has a different perspective. I have been in the classroom and I've been a coach. I've been a mentor, taught night school, and I was a cooperating teacher. Quite honestly, I think whether it deserves, or is agreed with or not, there was a perception that came across in the bond that the community is not being listened to, that we are not working together with our local officials as well as we could be.”
She says the board should consider more long-range planning and communicate that to the public.
“Or we come forward with one option for a bond. Let’s go to our community. What do you want to see? What kind of school do you want to build? What kind of budget are we looking at? Let's give them longer than a five year snapshot, lets give them a 10-year snapshot, 'cause the reality is, during that bond election, there were multiple people who asked, myself included, you know when is the next bond after this? And then when we're told well, once we build this high school, we're probably going to have to bond for another one.”
For more information about Marianne Allen’s candidacy for the Wasatch County School Board of Education South, go to https://www.marianneballen.org/