FARMINGTON — Providing a quality education for Davis School District students is a top priority for both Kathie Bone and Paul Prier, who are vying for the District 4 seat on the Board of Education.
The winner will provide representation for Fruit Heights, Kaysville, Layton and South Weber during a four-year term.
Bone, 68, believes her passion for education, represented by her 41 years as a teacher, principal and district director of elementary schools, provides an expertise unmatched by her opponent.
Bone holds multiple education degrees: a bachelor’s from the University of Utah, a master’s from Weber State University and an administrative endorsement from Utah State University.
“I have a reputation of being a reasonable and sensible problem-solver. I’ve worked with concerns between parents and schools and been quite successful at coming to a happy resolution for all involved,” she said.
The mother of three and grandmother of seven said her top priority as a board member would be to provide the best education possible for kids.
“The school board should think of kids with every decision they make. They need to look beyond and look at the impact on children,” she said.
“As a school district, money will always be tight in Utah. We need to look for new, innovative and creative ways of educating our kids. We can’t stay static. The status quo should not be part of our education system.”
The lifelong Davis County resident said she would work to employ quality teachers and provide them with the tools they need to help their students succeed.
She would also work toward smaller class size to increase a teacher’s effectiveness, she said.
“I think, obviously, a teacher’s salary attracts quality teachers, so we must be competitive with adjoining districts. We should also provide support systems and benefits that will attract them,” Bone said.
She also emphasized that new teachers should receive the support, training and mentoring needed to retain them as quality teachers.
Bone stressed the importance of parental involvement in children’s education.
“We need to partner with parents. They should feel very much a part of their children’s education.”
Prier, 43, said his experience in small business is his best qualification to make a difference on the board.
While he also has education experience — teaching drama at West High School and as the administrator of the Violin Making School of America in Salt Lake City — he feels that the experience he has gained from running a business that makes violin bows is substantial.
“I understand basic business principles that can be applied throughout the school district and have a great effect. We should be spending our money to get a quality education for our kids and economizing to eliminate waste,” Prier said.
The father of six said his decision to run for the school board was sparked, in part, by the increased property taxes he has been paying as a Davis County resident.
“I saw that, during the last eight years, property taxes have been going up while the property values have been going down,” Prier said.
“I see a disconnect with what’s being spent and how it is coming in.”
He said that he has spoken with contractors who have helped build and maintain school district properties, and he sees room for improvement.
“Is $1.2 million more for rounded corners in hallways worth it, if normal corners are just fine? There is plenty to look at to see if that is where we want to spend money when teachers are struggling,” Prier said.
“I think teachers are the most important part of the education system. I think we can support them better, including higher pay, without raising taxes.”
He is also concerned about what he sees as a top-heavy administration in the district.
“Over 185 district positions are paid over $100,000 per year. This is a little skewed when teachers are the rock stars of the education system,” Prier said.
“They are doing the real work with my kids. They should be the highest paid, as well as respected and supported.”
Prier said he would also address the board’s current practice of requiring three days’ advance written notice to address a board meeting.
“I would work for more public and open input.”