Two years ago Alpine School District residents didn't care much about two open seats on the school board. Linda Campbell and J. Blake Evans ran unopposed.
Residents are taking much more interest in this year's election. Candidates for the three open seats have come out of the woodwork. Three candidates are running in Precinct 1 for the seat being vacated by Jan Lewis. Six candidates are seeking Richard Gappmayer's seat in Precinct 2. Three challengers are trying to unseat incumbent David C. Harvey in Precinct 3.The top two finishers from each precinct will emerge from the primary election Tuesday to face each other in the general election Nov. 3.
Growth seems to be the main issue facing the school district. Most Alpine School Board candidates are concerned about crowded classrooms, projected growth and the lack of adequate building space. Most candidates say educational funding should be a priority. Communication with residents, a better high-technology curriculum, vocational training, site-based management of schools, teacher salaries and activity-fee waivers also are issues that concern candidates.
Those elected will be responsible for managing the district's $101 million annual budget. Board members also set and regulate district policies and oversee personnel, curriculum and building maintenance.
David Shorten, 50, has lived in Orem for 19 years. He and his wife, Janet, have three children. Shorten works for the Utah Department of Health as a specialist in licensing registered nurses. He taught at Sevier Valley Technical College in Richfield and has served in the U.S. Naval Reserve for 26 years, where he has the rank of commander. He earned degrees in Spanish, nursing science and public administration from Brigham Young University.
Shorten was appointed to the Utah Department of Commerce's Cosmetology and Professional Licensing Board. He is a past state Republican delegate. He has served on several committees at Windsor Elementary School.
For the past year Shorten has regularly attended Alpine School Board meetings. He feels the district has too many students for the way resources are used. He also is concerned about increased misbehavior in juveniles, the need for improved physical facilities, adequate compensation for employees and producing students more prepared for college and the work place. He supports site-based decisionmaking and management.
"In general, parents and the public must be brought into the solution process. Too many times the public chooses not to be adequately informed with the operation and function of the school system when making decisions," he said.
E. Vance Calder, 72, has lived in Orem his entire life. He is a retired teacher and farmer. He and his wife, Lois, have seven children. He served in World War II and has a master's degree in school administration. He is chairman of the Orem Heritage Board, a member of the Orem Metropolitan Water Board, a senior volunteer at Orem High School and is active in Scouting and river running.
Calder believes Alpine administrators do not communicate properly with residents. He said the district has crowded classrooms and needs more schools and to upgrade its facilities. He believes the schools should teach moral values.
"The board has limited powers, and there is no way a board member can solve problems alone. A board member represents the people, and I believe if a board member stays in touch with the people then solutions can be worked out," he said.
Douglas W. Johnson, 61, has lived off and on in Orem since 1964. He and his wife, Joanne, have nine children. He also has a home in Ogden, where he is a social worker.
Johnson said the district is crowded, needs more money and needs to spend more on each student. He said the district's facilities are inadequate and believes better community support is needed. He supports improvement of libraries, computer services and site-based management.
"I would do a thorough study of the various productivity models and would promote community and business support. I would involve students with the board as law allows," he said.
Bruce Armstrong, Lindon, has lived in Alpine School District for five years. He and his wife, Lisa, have four children. He works at WordPerfect Corp. as lead developer. He is a state Republican delegate and member of the Utah County Republican Central Committee. He has a bachelor's degree from BYU in physics and computer science.
Armstrong said Alpine does a good job of managing its money, but he believes the district can do more. He said class size can be reduced by involving parents in teaching, by treating home education and private schooling as a viable alternative and by better using extended-day and year-round schedules. He said teachers should be given more freedom in determining curriculum and methodology, and he supports site-based management of schools.
"I advocate change in the current power establishment. True educational change will not come from within the current system, as evidenced by the last 20 years of educational reform," he said.
Kenneth R. Sorenson, 48, Orem, has lived in Alpine School District for 40 years. He and his wife, Connie, have five children. He is a financial manager for Ballard Medical Products, where he manages a $75 million budget. He also served as financial manager for two other companies and served four years in the U.S. Army.
Sorenson said growth is the district's main concern. The district needs more student housing, better training of teachers and staff, and to select quality educational programs and curriculum. Acquisition, budgeting and disbursing educational funds is critical to meeting needs caused by growth, he said.
"Even though we spend a large percent of our taxes on education, I feel that education should receive a greater share of the taxes currently generated. We spend too much money handling the problems of our society and not enough on solving the cause of these problems," he said.
James C. Clegg said growth is the biggest problem facing Alpine School District. He said less money should be spent on administration and more on new schools and teachers. He said major changes need to be made to year-round schools and believes extended-day school is a necessary evil. He supports site-based management of schools and said principals are the most important administrators. He believes all schools should have an accelerated learning program.
Clegg said an educated person is someone who has social skills to interact with others, can understand bank interest and can balance a checkbook, can read, can express himself clearly in writing, has in-depth knowledge in at least one subject other than his career and continually seeks knowledge.
"If a program or product is recommended that will not aid in the creation of an educated person, I will be against it. The bulk of money should go to the actual teaching and teaching resources," he said.
Dan V. Johnson, 48, Orem, has been a resident of Alpine School District for 17 years. He has four children. For 13 years he has worked as a salesman and consultant in educational publishing. He graduated from BYU and is the author of a book on mathematics methods.
Johnson said the current educational system uses outdated teaching methods and curriculum. He said schools need better technology, more computer-assisted teaching and curriculum that reflects the high-tech economy. He believes in interactive and accelerated learning and supports site-based management of schools.
"Higher taxes for more and smaller classes of the same narrow, outdated instructional methods and curriculum is not the answer," he said.
Al Spencer, 43, Orem, has lived in Alpine School District for 15 years. He and his wife, Chris, have four children. He has been a teacher for the past four years.
Spencer said the district has a serious overcrowding problem that can be ignored no longer. He supports alternative housing, creative scheduling and giving students credit for things they already know. He said the district spends money unwisely and parents are unhappy with the direction education is taking. Every time money is spent the school board should find out how it will affect the education of students. No money should be spent on things that are not necessary, he said.
"I would make myself available to meet with parents on a regular basis and listen to them. Also, I would make sure parents get straight answers to what they want to know," he said.
Berdean H. Jarman, 61, Orem, has lived in Alpine School District his entire life. He and his wife, Sydney, have three children. He retired recently as Orem High School principal. He graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor's degree and received a master's degree from BYU. He taught school for 13 years, served as vice principal for 13 years and as principal for nine years. He coached high school athletics for 13 years and has officiated collegiate athletics for many years.
Jarman said funding Alpine's growth and providing enough classrooms is the district's main concern. He is not a total supporter of year-round school, but said limited money and growth has forced the district into using alternate housing measures. He said the recent court ruling giving more students fee waivers is causing a hardship on schools and may result in important programs being cut.
"When the legal evaluation is completed the Legislature will need to take a very good look at the situation. Schools simply do not have the money to fund all fees," he said.
David C. Harvey, 57, Pleasant Grove, is seeking his third term on the school board. He is a local farmer and has lived in Alpine School District his entire life. He and his wife, Dixie, have eight children. He served in the Utah House of Representatives for six terms. He also served on the Constitutional Revision Commission, the Cherry Growers Commission and as chairman of the Executive Compensation Commission. He is on the board of directors and executive committee of the Utah School Boards Association.
Harvey said Alpine is growing enough each year to fill an additional school. As a member of the school board he lobbied extensively for the recently passed "Robin Hood" bill that provides capital equalization to the poorer districts like Alpine. He continues to lobby for $25 million in state critical-building money. Despite constant growth and a shortage of funding, he said, Alpine enjoys success and provides a good education to students.
"Last year our seniors from the five high schools received more than $3 million in scholarship funds. There's a great sense of pride in the district, and I want to maintain and strive to improve on the progress we've made over the past eight years."
Gregory V. Reed, 30, Pleasant Grove, has lived in Alpine School District for four years. He and his wife are parents of three children. He is employed as a graphics designer and computer-software user-interface designer.
Reed said the current educational system is not responsive to the needs of children. The current system is time-based and not needs-based. Instruction needs to be more individualized, he said. He supports site-based management of schools and believes parents should be able to choose the schools their children attend.
"Overhauling our education system will be a painful and difficult process. We need to learn new ways to get things done and relearn some of the old ways. We can either make the effort to fix the system or we can leave it alone and keep paying more taxes and letting our children be less and less prepared for life," he said.
Carl T. Bell, 45, has lived in Alpine School District for 13 years. He and his wife have nine children. He has a family medical practice in American Fork. He is a past president of the Utah County Medical Society. He helped establish satellite public-health immunization clinics at American Fork and Mountain View hospitals. He and his wife spearheaded efforts to fence the Murdock Canal in populated areas.
Bell supports free education and does not believe low-income families should pay fees. He said students are required to spend too much time practicing and preparing for extracurricular activities. Growth can be handled without raising taxes by utilizing facilities better. He also believes teachers should be paid better. He supports creative teaching and feels people with expertise in certain areas could help teach on a volunteer basis.
"The school district must sincerely solicit suggestions, give them honest consideration and then act. Also, the suggestion giver should be involved in the solution whenever possible," he said.
Guy Fugal, 40, Pleasant Grove, has lived in Alpine School District for 40 years. He and his wife, Paula, have two daughters. He is part owner of Niels Fugal and Sons, an underground utility installation contractor. He is a member of the Pleasant Grove Fire Department and emergency medical services team. He is on the board of directors of the Power and Communications Contractors Association.
Fugal also believes overcrowding and lack of classroom space are the district's main concerns. He supports borrowing money to build more schools. He said more emphasis needs to be placed on attendance and vocational training. Improving communication among administrators, businesses and residents will result in contributions of money, computers and vocational training to the schools.
"I believe that the highest quality of education each student can receive is determined by the cooperation of the students, parents, community and administration. With these four groups and elements working together we can make a bright future for our children," he said.