BOUNTIFUL — The Davis County Republican Party condemns the action of those who stored Davis School Board candidate signs in the faculty room of a Bountiful elementary; and, to level the political playing field in the nonpartisan races, the group is trying to educate voters on where the candidates stand on the issues.
The education effort, and terse response by Davis GOP Chairwoman Kris Kimball, is in follow-up to a story that appeared in the Standard-Examiner on Sept. 27.
For a two-week period, campaign signs of three Davis Education Association “recommended” candidates were left in a faculty room, along with three maps posted of each of the Davis School District Board of Education races, Kimball said.
Teachers were asked to take home a sign if they lived in those districts, Kimball said. She said that is in violation of Utah’s election laws.
To help voters become educated on where their respective school board candidates stand, the Davis GOP has conducted a 10-question survey of the nonpartisan candidates and posted the results on the party’s website at www.DCRP-GOP.com.
“We don’t endorse any of the candidates,” Kimball stressed.
She said the party is merely trying to help voters make an “educated decision” in selecting a candidate whose choices will directly impact everyone’s children.
“The DCRP believes that as we have a right to vote, we also have a responsibility to get educated before we vote,” Kimball said.
Referring to the incident that occurred at the Bountiful elementary school, Kimball said the party abhors and condemns any kind of illegal or unethical campaign behavior.
The Davis County Republican Party blog states, “According to Mark Thomas of the Lieutenant Governor’s office, ‘It is illegal to use government emails or buildings or use work time or paid leave time to promote a candidate.’ ”
How can people encourage citizens to be a part of the process, when laws are broken and taxpayer money is abused, Kimball said.
“Who will want to run for (a) school board (position) if this kind of abuse is to take place and you’re running on your own against a candidate backed and supported by a special-interest group?” Kimball said.
Equally concerning, Kimball said, is that the individual who exposed the campaign violations felt they had to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation by either losing their job, being bullied by other teachers or administrators, or possibly because they have children in the school system who may be bullied.
“Is this a one-time incident of politics in school, or are there others who have seen violations but were afraid to speak out or didn’t know where to report the abuse?” Kimball said.
Officials said that within 45 minutes of being notified by the Utah State Office of Education, Davis School District officials sent emails to school administrators regarding political activities in the Bountiful school and by educators, and the problem was corrected with the signs being removed.