Kim Burningham: Be cautious about current talk of a special session

Capitol at night

Rumors are swirling.  Some sources are reporting a special session of the Legislature will be held next week.  Currently, the Governor has not called such a session.  I write in opposition to calling a special session and urge the Governor to refrain. At one point, the rumor mill suggested that a special session would be called to deal with SB 54, the compromise allowing political candidates to use an alternative system for getting on the ballot.  The current talk focuses on a different issue, the process for selecting State School…

Out with the baby, or just with the bathwater? Now that Governor Herbert won’t assemble a USBE nomination committee, what next?

Due to a 2014 court case, Governor Gary Herbert won’t be putting together a state board of education recruiting and nomination committee this year, even though it’s required by law. Under Utah law, the governor is required to assemble a committee for the purpose of recruiting and preparing a list of candidates for the Utah State Board of Education (USBE). The committee narrows down the candidates (after recruiting and reviewing applications), then, sends to the governor a list of at least three of the candidates for the USBE, along with pertinent…

The Mero Moment – June 25, 2015: On Federalism, Public Education, and Governor Herbert’s critics

Anyone in the distance of my conservative voice for the past 15 years knows I want the federal government out of Utah’s education system. They also would know that I believe the Utah Constitution has a fundamental flaw regarding education. In Utah, education is the jointly held constitutional domain of the State Board of Education and the state Legislature – the former has “general control and supervision” of public education and the latter has power to fund and, hence, regulate it. This partnership is systemically dysfunctional and the ridiculous politics…

The People Want Non-Partisan School Boards

(Note: In this post, Burningham speaks in his own behalf. The point of view expressed in this blog does not necessarily represent any organization of which he is or has been a part.)   To my way of thinking, the issue is all about power! Those who desire partisan elections of school boards (state and/or local) want politicians to have the power.   Those seeking a governor appointed state board want the Governor to have the power. Those who want school board elections to remain non-partisan elections believe the power is…

Turning the Tide for Financial Support for Education

For years Utah has spent less per pupil than any other state in the country and our class sizes are larger. The picture is more dismal when one sees how public education expenditures have fallen as a percent of our personal income in the last two decades. In the new year signs of hope for turning the tide are appearing. Several highly visible individuals and groups are announcing their support for increased educational funding. A Salt Lake Tribune editorial, published December 27, 2014 verbalizes the hope: “LET 2015 BE THE…

Elections for the Utah State Board of Education Should be Partisan

Considerable discussion about how the Utah State Board of Education should be elected has already begun. It’s almost universally agreed that the current method for selecting the Utah State Board of Education is flawed. The Legislature has yet to determine what should replace the current system, ruled by Judge Waddoups to be unconstitutional, and I expect that the Legislature will very likely change the process in the upcoming session. When it does, I believe the Legislature should adopt partisan elections and for several good reasons: The size of State School…

A Guide to Voting: Resources and Rants

Every year about this time, my phone starts ringing.  Neighbors, friends, family members, all calling to ask how I voted.  This year, I thought, to save you all the call, I’ll walk you through my thought process as I fill out my ballot and give you the resources you need to make your own informed decision. Since I live in Davis County, I received my ballot in the mail.  If you do not have your ballot in hand, and would like to follow along visit: here I both love and…

A Utah State School Superintendent Survival Guide

Congratulations! You made it to the interview portion of the Utah State Superintendent selection process!  Utah’s families care deeply about their kids and their schools.  They highly value education. But that’s about where the good news ends. The Utah State School Board and the Utah State Office are a mess.  There are a few great things happening, but as a whole there is dysfunction, distrust, and general disorder.    If you take this job, at times you’ll feel like Bear Grylls, dropped into a vast wasteland with only a pocket knife…

The State School Board Should Be Chosen in Direct, Nonpartisan Elections

Last week was a monumental for the issue of the State School Board selection process. First, Judge Clark Waddoups of the Federal District Court ruled on September 6 that the existing system was unconstitutional!   On Thursday, September 11, he said the remedy was to include two of the lawsuit plaintiffs on the ballot. As a follow up, I have three questions: What is my response to the Waddoups ruling? What impact will the remedy have on this year’s election? How will the process change in the future?