Thanks to Lisa Schencker at the Salt Lake Tribune, the votes from the state school board nominating committee’s open-meeting-secret-ballot are in. Let’s look at the entirely predictable results for District 9.
Voting for the Joel Coleman/Daniel Steven Ishman/Milton Witt trio:
Justin Allen (representing charter schools)
Todd Bingham (manufacturing and mining)
Leland Hogan (agriculture)
Stan Lockhart (information technology)
Chris Sloan (finance, insurance and real estate)
Richard Thorn (construction)
Voting for Denis Morrill:
Leana Christisen (parents)
Marsha Forsgren (teachers)
Gayleen Gandy (local school boards)
F. Ann MIllner (higher education)
Ken Tophman (school administrators)
Jan Wells (public utilities)
On the face of it, the vote was split down the middle, with private enterprise voting for the wingnuts on one side and the public and education voting for Morrill on the other, but there’s a little more to the story. Coleman received a vote from all twelve members. Witt received votes from 11. Isham 7 and Morrill, 6.
A few obvious questions:
1. Why is private enterprise represented six to seven different ways (seven if you count the City of Murray Utility, from which comes committee member Jan Wells – representing “public utilities,” back to six if charter schools are still considered in the public school camp, certainly disputable given the recent hostile takeover at the UAPCS)?
2. What do public utilities have to do with choosing people for the state school board? Granted, one of Wells’s votes went to Morrill instead of Isham, but that brings us to the biggest red flag of all.
If Joel Coleman could come out of this process with 12 votes, including votes from all the committee members on the education side, it’s nothing more than a simple math question. There were no other candidates from which to choose. All the education people and the oddball “public utility” rep could throw their support to the candidate with the most education experience and it still wouldn’t matter. They had to choose two more. So if they knew that Witt was the PCE guy and Coleman and his wife had unresolved “issues” against the State of Utah, they’d probably still go for Coleman. Holding their nose again for the third obligatory choice they chose Witt over Isham. Morrill would lose no matter what. Even with every education member on his side, the math would never work in his favor if he could not also swing someone from the bloated private enterprise side. Q.E.D.