Kane County School Board candidate profiles

Listed by Seat, in alphabetical order by last name.


Marc Grow, School Board Seat 4


What are the biggest challenges we face at our schools?


Our biggest issue in my opinion is that our kids are not well prepared to deal with the real world. I would like to help kids learn more life skills such as how to effectively communicate, budget time and money and goal setting. For kids that are more inclined to go into a trade business, we should have these kids go and shadow actual businesses and learn more in depth from the owners what makes a good employee and how to run a business.


What role does public education play in addressing student mental health issues?


Public education I believe can be a make or break for addressing mental health for the majority of mental health issues. If we can teach our kids how to confront problems in school they become more confident in themselves. The more obstacles kids can overcome the stronger mentally they will become. I think a lot of mental illness comes from a lack of positive experiences. Our kids need to build strength which in my experience usually comes from adversity but, whether it’s praising kids for doing well or teaching them how to overcome adversity both of these things can be shown in school with our great teachers, staff and coaches.


What is your view of the use of technology in education?


As much as I am opposed to technology there is a great need for it in schools for the fact that our kids need to understand how to use it regardless of what career choice they make. I think the bigger problem is teaching kids how to have discipline while using technology. This goes back to teaching kids time management. It is too easy to go to a computer or phone with the intent to work on a project and quickly find yourself playing a game or another way to waste time.


Do you feel public education in Utah spends too much or not enough on extracurricular activities vs academics?


When it comes to the money spent on academics and extracurriculars I feel that we spend a good amount on academics but we should spend more on extracurriculars. I was the type of student in high school that if it were not for sports I would not have graduated. I understood that I was a student athlete, meaning that I had to pass my classes first before I played sports. Extracurriculars are a huge part where kids can have positive experiences, learn invaluable life lessons, and maybe even get them into college.


How can you as a school board member ensure that our district stays financially sound and fiscally responsible?


I am not familiar with our current financial and fiscal numbers but as the owner of three businesses I understand how to run a budget and keep numbers within our means. Balancing money and evaluating what is worth our money for the sake of our kids is a challenge I know I am capable of doing. I am an avid advocate of running a budget and never having debt but if there is money to be spent I am willing to use it if there is an opportunity to help our kids.


LoRal Linton, School Board Seat 4


What are the biggest challenges we face at our schools?


Our biggest long-term challenge is being able to maintain local control in our schools. Overcoming federal beliefs and mandates that may not align with parent’s beliefs and welfare of their children. These are being pushed into schools across the country. Kane District listens to parents and guardians in these important beliefs as far as health, welfare, safety and values. Kane district was the first school to allow parents to opt their children out of mask wearing. I will continue to listen and fight for Parents’ Rights. Another challenge is being able to keep and retain excellent teachers this is due to smaller college graduates going into education and the number of teachers retiring. Desiring to attract and retain the best teachers we have over the past several years increased the pay scale at a higher living wage. I want our children to have the very best teachers. Kane district teacher pay is eighth highest out of the 41 school districts. Students’ school safety is always a challenge whether that is from another student (bullying) or from an outside intruder in our crazy world, we have remodeled all of our schools to restrict access and installed many more security cameras, worked hand in hand with law enforcement, with security plans and have a resource officer’s presence in every school. A quality and safe education is a constant priority.


What role does public education play in addressing student mental health issues?


Public education happens to be the place where most children in the community gather. Because of this by default public schools become the obvious place to deal with issues of mental health. Kane School District was one of the first districts in the state to be proactive with the hiring of competent medical professionals to work with students and parents. The parent’s consent is required in the aspect of mental health treatment. These mental health issues seem to be growing in our community every year. I find that mental health is of utmost importance in our student population. Students who are mentally healthy are far better equipped to deal with the increasingly complex society they find themselves in. The intervention in mental health issues have saved student’s lives in our district. The state Board of Education has also come on board with funding for counseling. If only one life is saved the decision for school involvement in mental health was well worth it.


What is your view of the use of technology in education?


In today’s fast-paced world, the ability to work with and navigate the advancements in technology, while striving to safeguard our students from the potential dangers associated with internet usage is a necessary challenge. As a school district, Kane County was one of the first Districts to put technology in play at the school level, starting with access, under my direction our District was one of the first to put Chromebook computers into the hands of every student. Technology advancement continues to be a priority for the School Board. We have equipped buses with WiFi to help students who engage in extracurricular activities to complete homework and other assignments while traveling. Recently Mr. Austin Walker created an after-school group (E-Sports Club) to work specifically with students interested in technology, teaching Online Social Fundamentals, Online Etiquette and ESportsmanship. We now transport students two days a week to Southwest Tech in Cedar City, where they are enrolled in Software Development and Robotics classes. With the growing job market involving technology, I will continue to to explore new technologies, assess student needs and explore additional funding for the student population in that job pathway.


Do you feel public education in Utah spends too much or not enough on extracurricular activities vs academics?


There needs to be a certain balance between the two. There is no argument that extra-curricular activities play a very important role in most students’ education. Academics, we have to remember, is the fundamental reason that public education was established. A strong knowledge in the basics - Math, Reading, Writing, Science and History - are essential to the success of every student whether that student is on a college/university, vocational or straight into the job market. The State of Utah does not allocate funds for extra-curricular activities. Those funds are locally funded by the District. Over the past five years, Kane County School District under the direction of the Board has spent millions of dollars on extra-duty pay, coaches, transportation - new buses, Suburbans and Expeditions, summer weight program, football uniforms, bathroom/concession buildings, new band room, utility costs for football and baseball fields and gym lighting , custodial expenses, weight room, Big Water playground, new bleachers for the KHS gym, Volleyball Equipment folding basketball backboards, to improve the playing area for volleyball, full size basketball gymnasium in the new elementary school that can be used by the sports programs and the community, etc. Everyone has to remember there is only one pot of money so the balance has to be closely regulated to not tip that balance.


How can you as a school board member ensure that our district stays financially sound and fiscally responsible?


Provide total financial transparency and accountability to the public. Require absolute integrity in all school business operations. Be responsible to the Local Taxpayers when budgeting (Kane District is currently the fourth lowest local school tax rate in the State). Planning and Saving in advance has been my priority so the board is able to plan for future projects. Monthly the school board reviews and approves all current expenditures, Including payroll and accounts payable. Each month, the board reviews current year to date budget reports, containing budgeted revenue and expenditures and actual revenue and expenditures. Each year, the school board meets with external auditors (private State approved Accounting firm) and carefully reviews the annual audit report on school district financial operations. At the beginning of each year, the board approves detailed budgets containing projected revenues and expenditures. Later in the year, the board approves any changes to the budget. Each year, the board carefully analyzes and prioritizes any needed capital improvements to our buildings and grounds and approves all projects. Prior to the start of each school year, the board analyzes financial data in the process of deciding the cost of living that can be given to employees.


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Jarad Brinkerhoff, School Board Seat 5


What are the biggest challenges we face in our schools?


Preparing our children for success after school. With the ever-changing world we live in, making sure our students get the opportunities, education, and experiences that they deserve. The world is full of opportunity, and we need to make sure we are providing our students with the tools and resources now so they can be successful later. It used to be an education alone was all it took to be successful. Higher education is an important goal, but vocational training and certifications can also provide lifelong career paths. Just one example – previously, the only path into computer coding was through a bachelor’s degree in computer programming, taking four years, spending thousands of dollars and accumulating student debt. Today, a bootcamp certification to code can be acquired in three to six months that qualifies the student to work for software providers. There are other fields where this happens as well. That’s the biggest issue and challenge that I see is making sure our students have the knowledge, resources, and opportunities to be successful.


What role does public education play in addressing student mental health?


This is a very personal issue for me. I’ve lost friends and family due to mental health issues. They did not have a place to go where they felt safe to talk about the issues they faced. Public education’s role in student mental health is second only to the family, in my opinion. Not all students can talk about issues facing them at home, and not all homes have the resources to get them help. I’m a huge proponent of dealing with mental health issues that are facing our children. Students need to be able to go to school and be able to learn without fear of verbal or physical abuse. This goes for cyber abuse as well. If something is going on with them at school, home, or elsewhere, they need to be able to visit with a counselor or other professionals who can help, on an immediate basis. The state suicide rate for all ages is more than 60 percent above the national average and Kane County has one of the highest suicide rates within the state. The local school counselor sends out mental health resource emails regularly to parents who have signed up to receive them. I would encourage all parents to sign up. I feel like the local school district is doing well letting students and parents know what resources are available to them. But we could do more protecting and helping our children regarding mental health issues. The district should work with local, county and state resources to establish a year-round comprehensive counseling and support program for all in-school and out of school youth.


What is your view of the use of technology in education?


I think technology is a very useful tool. But too much of it can be a bad thing. Even Steve Jobs, the inventor of the iPhone, wouldn’t let his kids have an iPhone or iPad, although that seems extreme to me. There are times when a screen in front of the students for learning purposes makes sense and other times where it makes sense to have a teacher, book, or paper instead. There needs to be a balance. As we move further into the 21st century, technology will be more and more a part of our children’s lives. But they must know how to interact with other people, like talking face to Brinkerhoff Continued from A3 face instead of texting or emailing. We do the students a disservice when they don’t know how to effectively use communication skills because they have been so inundated with technology.


Do you feel public education in Utah spends too much or not enough on extracurricular activities vs academics?


We send our children to public school to learn math, english, writing, science, history, and other academic studies. All the academics in school are extremely important. That’s really where we need to be first and foremost focused. But extracurricular activities are important as well. This gives the students an opportunity to engage in physical activity, interact socially with peers, learn teamwork, and in some aspects, this is almost as important. But academics in my mind are first. Some dollars could be spent on free non competitive mental and physical activities for those who choose not to compete or whose families cannot afford the fees associated with the existing extracurricular activities.


How can you as a school board member ensure that our district stays financially sound and fiscally responsible?


In my opinion transparency is the best way to make sure taxpayer money is spent responsibly. Like any company or organization, budgeting is essential to keep spending in check. I know that the school district is very fiscally responsible. That ensures continued and future opportunity for the students of Kane County. As a board member, I would be aware of the responsibility placed upon me to be fiscally adept at budgeting public funds, making sure to always be aware of the current budget and what the restraints are and staying within it.


Brian Goulding, School Board Seat 5


What are the biggest challenges we face in our schools?


School safety both physically and mentally for our students, faculty, and staff should be top priority. Bullying is always a concern; each student should be able to feel safe and have a great experience attending school. A priority is to continue improving our schools by hiring and retaining the best teachers and staff to educate our students.


What role does public education play in addressing student mental health?


Kane County School District provides student mental health counseling from licensed therapists free of charge to any student who is in need of the service. We include parents in every step of the student mental health process. Student mental health services are essential to helping students; the services the district provides have saved student lives. Student mental health counseling is funded through grants from the Utah State Board of Education.


What is your view of the use of technology in education?


Technology is a vital tool to assist teachers and engage students, which we are always improving and upgrading. Kane School District is/has been 1 to 1 (one personal device for each student) for the past six years and leads the state in technology classroom integration. Teachers have access to digital curriculum and have the needed resources such as interactive LED displays in the classroom. Teachers receive professional development training from the Southwest Education Development Center (SEDC) to assist with classroom engagement.


Do you feel public education in Utah spends too much or not enough on extracurricular activities vs academics?


Kane School District has balanced extracurricular activities and academics by providing students with the opportunity to successfully participate in both areas. The district provides stipends to extracurricular coaches, transportation, and facilities for the activities. Rigorous academics are available to students who want to participate in upper-level high school courses and concurrent enrollment. In a research study conducted by Anthony Watkins, he found, “Students who participated in any extracurricular activity had a statistically higher mean cumulative GPAs than those who participated in no extracurricular activities.”


How can you as a school board member ensure that our district stays financially sound and fiscally responsible?


Each year in June the district approves the budget for the upcoming school year. Each month the school board reviews and approves accounts payable and district payroll, and reviews monthly budget percentages provided by the Business Administrator Cary Reese, who has an extensive knowledge in the field of school finance and is highly respected across the state. Kane County School District has the 4th lowest property tax levy (out of 41 school districts) in the state of Utah. Kane County School District will receive 100 percent of the tax levy from the East Zion Project because as a board we chose not to participate in the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). By not participating, the school district will receive millions of dollars that would have been forfeited if we had participated in the CRA. I take seriously the responsibility to continue using taxpayer money in a thoughtful and responsible manner. I believe in being open and transparent with the public in all board actions and decisions. Thank you for your support in the past, and for the opportunity to serve on the Kane County School Board the past twelve years. I have appreciated your trust and confidence that I will do the right thing for our schools. I would appreciate your vote in this election to continue to serve you.

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