FARMINGTON -- Davis School Board incumbent James Clark is being challenged by Larry Smith for the District 2 seat.
Although the two men come from different career backgrounds, they both have strong feelings about improving technology in education and placing the needs of students first.
Clark said the issues he wants to address are increased funding from the state Legislature, continued emphasis on technology in schools and providing fair compensation and support for teachers.
Clark said $75 million has been cut from the district's budget during his four-year term, and the board has worked to continually support quality education for students.
"We provide the best education we can for the kids of this district," said Clark, 69. "That is a great accomplishment to still provide a quality education in tough economic times."
He hopes to persuade the Legislature to increase education funding.
"We hope to encourage, educate and inform our elected officials of our needs and challenges," Clark said. "We need and deserve dedicated funding for education. Legislative decisions can tie our hands or provide opportunities."
Regarding technology, Clark feels the district has been successful in implementing programs and needs to continue to improve in that area.
"We are facing ever-changing technology, and must keep up with these changes," he said.
Clark also believes the district should fairly compensate teachers with salaries that are competitive with surrounding districts and states, as well as provide them with a good working environment and support from administrators and the school board.
The longtime Davis County resident and father of five said he has always been an advocate for education. He said he learned a lot from a family line of educators -- his father-in-law was a high school principal and his father served on the Davis School Board.
"I learned to appreciate, and respect this great country, and understand my responsibility as a citizen," Clark said.
He said his experience as the owner of a small business in the wholesale produce industry allows him to bring a business background to the board.
He said students will always be his first priority.
"I believe every child, no matter their individual differences, is entitled to a first-rate educational experience," he said. "Public schools produce good citizens and productive citizens."
Larry Smith, Clark's challenger, also wants to focus on the needs of the students.
He said he would work to ensure that students are optimally prepared for the future.
"We want them to enjoy their schooling experience, but the overall mission is to help them learn to learn, to gain a passion for at least a handful of the subjects taught, be great citizens and to provide them the basis for realizing and succeeding in their career or life goals," said Smith, 49.
He said the key is to focus on the fundamentals, including administratively directing available funds toward whatever maximizes educational exchanges between teacher and student.
Smith emphasized that his presence would bring diversity to the board, as his background and experience are different from that of current board members.
"Being exposed to additional viewpoints creates not only openness to improvements, but a realization of those needed improvements," Smith said.
He currently works at Hill Air Force Base, providing project management consulting, organizational development and process-improvement support within the Software Maintenance Group. He is also a longtime Davis County resident and father of five children.
He feels this experience brings expertise in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math -- known as STEM subjects.
"The board does not have anyone specifically connected to the challenges and opportunities facing the STEM community," Smith said. "There is a concern regarding the declining state of STEM education in the United States and the lack of qualified candidates for STEM jobs. I would like to make this county a known source for STEM excellence."
Smith added that he has volunteer experience in the schools, including working with the Spectrum Program Committee and the Science-Math partnership to improve the quality of science and math instruction, including recommendations for curriculum development.
"I helped teach technical topics and demonstrate real-world science and math applications to fifth- and sixth-graders," he said.
He also emphasized his professional training in curriculum development and experience providing corporate training and university-level instruction.