Park City Board of Education slated for 2 new members next year | #Education

The Park City School District.
David Jackson/Park Record

The Park City Board of Education is poised to swear in new members next year after a seemingly successful campaign from two candidates in districts 4 and 5.

Preliminary results from the midterm election released by the Summit County Clerk’s Office on Thursday night indicate the incumbents in the school board race, Mandy Pomeroy and Erin Grady, will not retain their seats. Instead, voters elected their challengers.

Meredith Reed received 760 votes more than Pomeroy in the District 4 contest with nearly 3,000 ballots counted. Pomeroy, who was appointed to the vacant seat in the spring, received 891 votes or 35% of the vote. Reed received the most votes in the primary election with Pomeroy also advancing, but the candidates were only separated by 2% of the vote then. The District 4 seat covers areas north of Interstate 80 such as Jeremy Ranch, Hidden Cove, Glenwild and Silver Creek.

The election appeared less decisive in District 5, with just 111 votes separating the candidates and 2,683 ballots counted. Nick Hill received 1,168 votes, or 52%, while Grady, the current board president, earned 1,057 votes, or 47%. The seat represents districts south of I-80 such as Pinebrook and Summit Park.

Although the results are preliminary, there are not enough remaining ballots to be counted, by the Summit County Clerk’s Office, to change the outcome.

Pomeroy and Grady both conceded.

“It has been an honor to serve as an interim member of the Park City School Board,” Pomeroy said in a statement to The Park Record. “Running for any political office is no small feat. I am proud to have put my name into this race. I wish the best for the two candidates this town elected, and hope they will keep the best interest of our community and students at heart.”

Grady also said it’s been a privilege to serve the community over the past five years. She was first appointed to the Park City Board of Education in 2017 and ran uncontested for a full term in 2018.

“I’m proud of getting a bond passed, staying open through the pandemic, giving the staff the largest raise in history and being willing to open negotiations up again early,” she said in an email. “I am super thankful for the amazing people that make up our district including our teachers, admin, aids, bus drivers, and everyone who touches and changes our children’s lives on a daily basis.”

Reed and Hill ran on platforms striving to bring communication and transparency to the school board. The challenger’s success is a message from voters that they want to see change on the panel, Hill said.

“People are really ready to see the school board operating in a different way. To see transparency, honesty, communication and accountability for some of the things that have gone wrong,” he said in an interview. “When you look at the results in District 4 and District 5, that’s really what voters have asked us to do.” 

The District 4 contest, at times, became heated as the nonpartisan race became embroiled in politics and controversy. The race between Hill and Grady in District 5 was less adversarial with the candidates focusing on issues such as honesty and accountability in the Park City School District.

Hill’s top priority heading into the new term in January is improving the connection between the School District, the board of education and the public. He also wants to help rebuild broken trust and to begin to “recognize missteps” over issues such as pandemic-era mask mandates and building without the necessary permits. Reed did not return a request for comment before the time of publication.

“I think people were really not comfortable with some of the things that were happening in the School District,” Hill said. “It’s very difficult to change incumbents in elections in Utah … I think [the preliminary school board results] really speaks loud and clear to people wanting to see things done differently and I hope that resonates with the three other members of the board.”

East Side voters were also asked to elect school board representatives.

Incumbent Kevin Orgill retained his seat in District 4 of the North Summit School District, earning 186 votes or 57% as of Thursday night. His challenger, Marilyn Blakely, received 148 votes or just about 43% with 339 ballots counted. Vern Williams ran unopposed in District 5.

Matthew Weller defeated incumbent Steven Hardman for the South Summit Board District 4 seat. Weller received 428 votes, or 53%, compared to the 376 cast for Hardman. The Clerk’s Office has counted 1,132 ballots in the contest.

The District 5 race between Olivia Gunnerson and Troy Beckstead had a greater difference. Gunnerson earned 302 votes, or nearly 67%, while Beckstead received 149 votes with 512 ballots counted.

The general election results are not official until they’re certified on Nov. 22.

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