This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
State school board incumbents faced an unfriendly electorate in 2016, with preliminary election results showing challengers succeeding in three races.
If the numbers hold, 14 of the board's 15 seats will have turned over in the past two elections. The exception would be board member Terryl Warner, who was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2014 and retained her seat in the election later that year.
At press time, board vice-chairman David Thomas lagged behind Jennifer Graviet by 13 percentage points, while board member Stan Lockhart trailed Scott Neilson by 13 percentage points.
And Alisa Ellis, an organizer within the Utahns Against Common Core community, appeared to defeat her opponent, incumbent Dixie Allen, 52 percent to 48 percent.
Two other incumbents, Leslie Castle and board chairman David Crandall, were eliminated during June's primary election.
Voters also approved bonds in Jordan School District and Alpine School District.
And early results showed a 63 percent to 37 percent vote in favor of a constitutional amendment changing the way land trust funding is distributed to schools.
Five state school board seats did not include an incumbent candidate.
In District 7, which includes Salt Lake City, Carol Barlow-Lear led Shelly Teuscher by 10 percentage points.
In District 8, former school board member Janet Cannon was ahead of Richard Nelson by 30 percentage points.
In District 10, Kathleen Riebe was leading Gary Thompson by 21 percentage points.
In District 11, Lisa Cummins was beating Erin Preston by a vote of 53 percent to 47 percent.
And in District 15, Michelle Boulter led Wesley Christiansen by 4 percentage points.
The preliminary vote totals showed mixed results for the Utah Education Association, which endorsed Graviet, Barlow-Lear, Cannon, Preston, Allen and Christiansen.
Those endorsements generated criticism throughout the campaign season, most notably voiced by Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, and candidate Richard Nelson, who is also president of the Utah Technology Council.
Members of the Technology Council were encouraged to support an anti-UEA slate of school board candidates in October, but the council reversed its position less than two weeks later, formally endorsing a slate of six candidates, including two Preston and Riebe who had also received UEA support.
In previous years, school board hopefuls were screened by a nominating committee that forwarded names to the governor, who then selected two candidates for each board seat.
That selection system was ruled unconstitutional in 2014, leading lawmakers to create a direct, nonpartisan election for state school board in 2016, followed by partisan elections beginning in 2018.