OGDEN — In the Ogden School District 5 race, board member Shane Story is running on his record while his opponent, J. Scott Handy, is calling for change.
Handy, 62, a former Ogden School District teacher, is a marketer at Superior Roofing Inc. He is the married father of four, three surviving. Handy earned his Weber State bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in political science. He also earned his secondary teaching certificate at WSU.
Story, 48, is an account executive for Nestles USA and the married father of three. He is a graduate of Weber State, has been a PTA and Community Council member for 20 years, and has served one four-year term on the Ogden School Board.
“My main goal right now is to bring unity between the board members and the teachers,” Handy said. “That’s one of the main reasons I became involved, because of the contract issue and the appointment of the superintendent, which caused division with teachers and in the community.”
Handy referred to the summer 2011 decisions by the school board to require teachers to sign a non-negotiated contract or face job loss, and the board’s decision to appoint one of its members, Brad Smith, as superintendent.
“As I go out and meet parents, there’s still quite a division there,” Handy said. “I want teachers to know how much they are respected. I hold them as our most important resource, and we can and should do a better job of respecting them. There’s been fallout, and I think the district lost a large number of teachers. If we would show them more respect and appreciation, the fallout would cease and we would keep these great teachers that are being welcomed by other districts with open arms.”
Handy would work to increase parental involvement and volunteerism in schools.
“If we had 10 or 20 hours a year per parent, you can’t believe how much it would affect testing,” Handy said.
He would work toward more volunteerism from local church groups and businesses, Handy said, and wants every school to have a supportive business partner.
Story said he’s proud of all the work he has done as a board member, but the best examples include championing more rigorous study programs and the International Baccalaureate program, new this year at Ogden High School. New programs at the district’s junior high schools will work as springboards to the IB program at the high school, Story said.
“It has increased the enrollment of high quality students at Ogden High, and students have elected to go to Ogden High because of the IB program,” he said. Students who had left Ogden High have returned, and students from other districts have transferred in, Story said.
Story said he’s the best candidate for the job because he’s an advocate for students.
“Everything I am trying to do is to improve students’ education,” Story said. “Our results show in our higher graduation rates, and the decisions we have made with leadership are the correct decisions, placing the proper leaders in the right positions over the right schools.”
Story said Handy is too focused on teachers’ needs. Story said in a Utah Education Association survey filled out by his opponent, Handy said “I support the union. I am all about teachers.”
Handy said supporting the teachers does not mean ignoring the students.
“I support the union and would work with the union and district to make sure we have a better working agreement,” he said. “It’s all about the teachers because I was a teacher, and I don’t think they were fairly treated by the Ogden School District.
“But above and beyond that, I support the students in getting a world-class education, and we can achieve that in the Ogden School District.”
Handy said he is the best candidate because he can rally people and get them heading in the right direction with the same goals.
“I’ve been in the classroom and know teachers’ challenges, and can relate to their successes and failures,” Handy said. “I also think it’s important the board and the superintendent work hand-in-hand and get along well. There needs to be more communication between them.”