The response to calls for potential state school board nominees has been "under-whelm-ing," but selection committees are banking on a last-minute deluge that will allow them to fulfill their mandate.

Nominating committees in 11 of 15 districts will be accepting nominations through June 15. The committees then will assess the applicants and narrow the field to three to five candidates in each district. Those names will go to Gov. Norm Bangerter by Aug. 1, and he will select two in each district to go on the November ballot.The large number of open seats on the board reflects legislative action last summer to increase the board from nine members to 15.

"We have zero applications at this moment," said Donna Davies, committee chairwoman in District 13 when she was contacted by the Deseret News Monday. "But we have had some people request applications and most of our committee members have passed out some. People tend to come in under the wire. We hope to have some good candidates with excellent qualifications."

"We're having trouble finding someone. No one has come to us asking for an application," said Judy Larson, committee chairwoman in District 9, which covers a large part of western Salt Lake County.

Her committee members have approached six or eight individuals, asking them to apply. All have said "no," she reported.

Wayne Evans, committee chairman in District 8, which includes the east side of Salt Lake City and part of the county, also reports no formal applicants, although one individual has expressed an interest. Evans' committee is also out beating the bushes for good candidates.

Evans thinks there may be two reasons for the dearth of candidates - the complexity of the new nominating procedure and a reluctance to submit to the scrutiny of a screening committee. "People may be willing to go to the public with their cause, but they might not be as willing to go to a committee that will carefully scrutinize their applications for capabilities and conflicts of interest," he said.

State school board member Grant Hurst is the only applicant to have formally applied in District 11, which largely covers Sandy and Draper. Committee Chairman Brinton Burbidge said his committee will meet this week to identify possible candidates.

District 4 in northern Utah was having a bit better luck. Chairman Jay Monson said, "We expect to have 10 - possibly as many as 15 - solid applications." Monday morning, he had two actually in hand. Each committee member is contacting potential candidates, he said.

Corena Miller Steel, chairwoman in District 15, Utah County, believes ignorance of the new nominating process, being used for the first time this year, has contributed to the dearth of candidates.

"I'm a little bit frustrated," she said. "We want some good nominations." She and other chairmen anticipated that many people who have been contacted will not make a decision until the 11th hour.

People interested in submitting their names for consideration may obtain information about district boundaries by contacting the district committees or their county clerk's office.

The open districts, their committee chairpersons and phone numbers include: District 2, Gayle McKeachnie, 789-4908; District 4, Jay Monson, 750-1427; District 5, Glen S. Collins, 392-2573; District 6, Richard Sadler, 626-6706; District 8, Wayne Evans, 583-0849; District 9, Judy Larson, 969-2382; District 11, Brinton Burbidge, 943-0516; District 12, Joyce Anderson, 262-4459; District 13, Donna Davies, 255-0466; District 14, Luana Searle, 756-4565; District 15, Corena Miller Steel, 266-6902.


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Board members sought

Utah's State School Board is looking for a few good citizens to stand for election this November. The board's responsibilities include:

- Setting statewide policy and engaging in strategic planning on a broad range of education issues.

- Appointing the state superintendent.

- Carrying out legislative directives related to education.

- Recommending a budget for legislative consideration.

- Overseeing the State Division of Adult Rehabilitation, the State Schools for the Deaf and Blind and a statewide applied technology program.

- Giving direction to the State Office of Education and a variety of advisory groups.

- Acting as liaison with higher education and local school districts.

- Holding meetings at least monthly. Members are assigned to at least one subcommittee and may sit on a variety of other education committees as well. Board members also are invited to participate in numerous education or social gatherings that are optional.

Members are elected to four-year terms (although some this year will be for only two years to accommodate the expansion of the board.) They are compensated slightly more than $100 per month and are provided mileage and other expenses.