OGDEN -- The Utah State School Board of Education on Friday granted Brad C. Smith the waiver needed for him to serve as Ogden School District superintendent despite his lack of an administrative license.
But not before changing a word in consent item N., Smith's acceptance, from "approve" to "grant."
"The language the secretary had used was 'we approve,' " Kim R. Burningham, the board member who proposed the word change, told the Standard-Examiner.
"That seemed to say to me that we approve of the whole process, and I for one do not know about that process to make a judgment pro or con. By using the word 'grant,' the language of the statute, we could do what we are required to do."
Burningham, of Bountiful, said all such local school board requests are granted.
"We approve all superintendent appointments so they (the appointees) are subject to the Professional Practices Act," in case ethical issues arise, he said.
"The law indicates the local school board can make that appointment, as they did," Burningham said.
"Some people have been questioning whether that is appropriate or not, and we certainly don't know enough about the legalities. We don't pass judgment about the process a district followed.
"The courts may have to determine that, but based on the recommendation of local school districts and law, we grant him that authority.
"We know there's been a lot of controversy in Ogden, and I don't think we should interject ourselves into approving a process we are not part of."
Smith was sworn in Tuesday as superintendent after the resignation of Noel Zabriskie for family reasons.
Smith, an attorney, served as an Ogden School Board member until resigning his post to take on superintendent duties.
Most Utah school board superintendents have strong backgrounds in education and hold an administrator's license.
Ogden School District board members have stated they believe Smith is uniquely qualified because of his knowledge of the district and the issues it is dealing with.
The state code that permits appointments such as Smith's is 53A-3-301, 5b: "At the request of a local school board, the State Board of Education shall grant a letter of authorization permitting a person with outstanding professional qualifications to serve as superintendent without holding an administrative/supervisory license."