Weber District 4 candidates focus on school safety, teacher salaries

Tuesday , April 17, 2018 - 5:15 AM

Candidates of the only primary for the Weber District Board of Education are focusing on school safety, teacher salaries and student success.

Edward Peters and Brice Lythgoe will face Weber School Board of Education member Paul Widdison June 26 in the District 4 primary.

Peters, a 74-year-old retired policeman from Los Angeles, moved to Utah three years ago with his daughter. He said making schools safer is his top priority.

“I think about my daughter every day, that her school could get attacked,” Peters said. “My goal is to ensure that the children get a proper, sound education in a nice environment.”

Peters, who was raised in Indiana, said he moved from Los Angeles to West Haven in search of a better education for his daughter. He said Weber School District provides that.

The school shooting in Parkland, Florida, prompted him to reach out to the Weber County Sheriff’s Office to ask about their safety awareness programs in the different schools. He said he’d like to develop a plan to better secure schools and he mentioned he is in favor of arming school staff.

“I would support the teachers being armed so that any child won’t be killed,” Peters said.

Lythgoe, 38, is the owner of the online store UT Kilts. He taught at Sand Ridge Junior High School for 10 years and said his experience as a teacher in the school district prompted him to run for office for the first time.

“As a teacher, I saw a lot of things that I thought could be improved,” Lythgoe said. “The biggest issue is teachers are not allowed to teach.”

He said teachers have so much pressure by administrators to track student success that they don’t have enough time to fully engage in teaching.

Teacher salaries are another pressing issue for Lythgoe. When he was a teacher, he had to work two jobs to provide for his three kids and wife. He also mentions his age as a reason to run. 

“When you look at the school board, many of them are grandparents,” Lythgoe said. “I’m just trying to get a different perspective.”

Widdison, a 57-year-old employee of Orbital ATK, was selected last year to replace the late Richard Favero. This is the first time Widdison runs for office.

He said the school district is “well rounded” and “fiscally in good shape.” He has learned a lot after a year on the post and wants to give continuity to his work. He wants to also push for more inclusion and education access in the school district.

“I’m interested in helping to make the community better through education,” Widdison said. “The students always are first.”

Contact education reporter Sergio Martínez-Beltrán at [email protected] or 801-625-4274. Follow him on Twitter @SergioMarBel and like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/STANDARDEXSergio.

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