UAC 2022 School Board Candidate Survey Responses
Tell us about yourself: this could include biographical details, a list of hobbies, professional accomplishments, or anything you’d like to highlight.
Julie King is the mother of 4 children and a fierce advocate for learning in all its forms to meet the individual needs of each child. Julie graduated from BYU in 1997 with a degree in Family Sciences with an emphasis in Human Development. She has worked as a social worker, specializing in children who have suffered abuse and neglect as well as those who have experienced domestic violence. Julie and her husband have previously been foster parents and she has a special place in her heart for children aging out of care.
She is a strong advocate for Dual Language Immersion as she has had children participate in both Spanish and Chinese Immersion programs. She also strongly supports Advanced Learning Lab as well as supports for students with disabilities.
Julie has served on multiple PTA boards as well as serving as the PTA President at Riverview Elementary and the President of the Westlake PTA Council. She has served on SCC for several schools and was appointed to serve on the Alpine District Community Council. She was appointed by the Utah State Board of Education to serve on the Student Data Privacy Advisory Group. In 2012, she was honored to be named the Parenting Magazine Mom Congress Utah Delegate. In 1999, she was the Utah County Child Advocate of the Year.
Happy to call herself a nerd, Julie loves history, travel, and is an avid reader. She is also a published author.
Describe your strategy for victory in your campaign; i.e., what is your messaging? How will it appeal to a majority of voters in your district? Are you working closely with any other campaigns?
My goal is to provide the best educational opportunities for our children. My campaign is based on 4 A's-accountable, adaptable, accessible, and autonomy for teachers. I believe we can achieve that through recruiting and retaining the best teachers, working on reducing class size, and partnering with parents for student success. I communicate with my constituents regularly on a Facebook group. Oftentimes people may disagree with me, but my goal is to always communicate why I vote the way I do. I regularly visit my schools and attend PTA and SCC meetings as well as community events and city council meetings a couple of times a year. I work to collaborate with legislators and local elected officials. I weekly talk to parents and teachers and communicate with them through social media, phone calls, texts, and emails. There are times my views may not align with my community, but I feel that I have earned the trust of others and banked some social capital.
A decision to run for office can often be a difficult one: why did you decide to run for school board, i.e. what are your guiding principles?
I decided to run for school board in 2014 and lost the race. I ran again in 2018 and won and then decided this year to run for re-election. My reason for running for re-election is that I do not feel that my work is done yet. I feel there is still much to do with working with the state to fund education in Utah better as well as supporting teachers. This past school year was incredibly difficult and this year has been hard as I have seen teachers vilified. We have to do better. I have a passion for education. I have a love of literacy and want every child to become a lifelong reader and learner. My guiding principles are to see every child as a unique individual with unique needs. Every child should feel safe and supported at school. I believe in supporting our teachers and support professionals so that they can do the jobs they are trained and qualified to do. My goal is to make the jobs of others in my district easier, not harder.
What professional or volunteer experience do you have in the Utah education system?
I have served in multiple PTA and SCC positions as well as being a room mom. I also worked as a library assistant in an elementary school. I have served as a substitute teacher. I currently serve on the Alpine School District Board of Education, the Mountainland Technical College Board of Trustees, and the Utah County Academy of Sciences Board of Trustees. I also was appointed and serve on the Student Data Privacy Advisory Group at USBE.
What community groups, nonprofit organizations, or professional organizations do you belong to or align with?
I belong to MWEG and recently served on a school board panel for an event they held this year. I also work with Communities That Care in Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain. I am a member of the NAACP Salt Lake City branch.
What local community members, professional associates, or elected officials have encouraged you to run for office or endorsed your campaign?
The Saratoga Springs mayor and many city council members have endorsed me as well as several Eagle Mountain city council members. I also have the support of both state House members in my area. Also, multiple teachers and parents have extended their endorsements.
Force for Good
Based on your educational philosophy/core values, what is at least one way that you can positively influence your school district as a school board member?
One of my main goals is to keep pushing more money into the classrooms through increasing teacher pay. I would say a specific attribute I have is the ability to collaborate with others. I worked with Representative Jefferson Moss to create a teacher feedback group that directly lead to the legislation granting all teachers in Utah 32 additional professional development hours. I plan to continue those relationships and focus on creating positive change.
What do you believe is the best way for local or state school boards to support administrators?
I work with my principals closely to make sure they are getting the district support they need. I also attend events when invited. I want to communicate how much I value each of my school communities. I also think that the best way to support administration is to allow them to do the work they are qualified to do while also holding them accountable. I believe the best relationships are honest and open and I seek that with everyone I work with.
What do you believe is the best way for local or state school boards to support teachers?
I think the best way we support teachers is by providing a positive work environment with great pay and benefits. I am often invited into classrooms and do my best to attend whenever an invitation is extended. I respect and honor confidentiality when teachers share concerns and do not want their personal information revealed. I do my best to be aware of and fix issues that may be inadvertently impacting our teachers. I also advocate for teachers and funding with state legislators. I also do everything I can to speak up about hardships we place on teachers and do not negatively speak about them in public, in private, or through social media.
What do you believe is the best way for local or state school boards to support students?
Students deserve amazing teachers in their classrooms and that is the best way I can support students. I also strive to support policies that allow us to extend supports to our marginalized and underrepresented communities. I have supported and participated in the development of Wellness Rooms. I also strongly advocated for and was able to get put in place a board equity committee.
What do you believe is the best way for local or state school boards to support parents?
I weekly communicate with parents, often listening to concerns and working to help parents understand how to find the right resources to meet the needs of their child. I think showing up to PTA and SCC meetings and being present is essential. Sometimes parents want things that are not possible and one of my roles is to be honest and straightforward with parents about that. I try to extend compassion and grace. I try to be very accessible and provide my cell phone number. One of the greatest things I can do is listen, even if we disagree.
What is something the school board you are running for has done right?
We have made strides in increasing teacher pay. 6 years ago the starting teacher pay was $35k in my district and now it is $50k. We still have work to do in that area, but we have been focused and made great progress. We also looked for a way to tackle the inequity between Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees in the URS. We created a retention program to reward teachers with a 401k deposit of increasing amounts of money. These deposits help teachers long term as they save for retirement.
As a school board member, what specific, achievable goals do you have?
I want to raise the starting teacher pay to $60k. I want to reduce the class size in our elementary schools by 5 students a class over the next 5 years. I want to work with legislators to reduce the onerous reports required by our district, administrators, and teachers.
There is a well-established and transparent process for book challenges and removals; recently, a minority of parents and parent-groups have advocated for testing the limits of established practice by using social media to spread disinformation about books and librarians. How do you feel about the existing policy and efforts to circumvent it?
This could be a super long conversation. Basically the passing of HB374 defines what constitutes pornography and what must be removed from student access. I am worried about where this is heading. I have spent the summer reading several books that have been challenged and would have no problem having my 15-year-old read them. Many of the books that have been challenged are on the bookshelves of our home library. But I also understand that I am beholden to follow state law. The push to include more books concerns me since there is already a system in place for a parent to restrict their child's library access. That does not mean they should be able to deny all children in that school access to a book.
Teaching American History
Another ongoing debate is focused on the teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) in Utah’s K-12 schools. If you are asked: “Are you promoting Critical Race Theory in K-12 schools?" How would you respond?
Can you tell me what your definition of CRT is? Critical Race Theory is not legal to teach in Utah schools. But there is often a misunderstanding of what CRT actually is. When we are teaching about redlining, that is not CRT, that is American history. Too often our history of blacks in the US has centered on slavery and the civil rights movement. But what about the rest of our history? What about the voices of women? What about the voices of indigenous people or Latinx? What about the voices of LGBTQ people? What about the voices of those with disabilities? Expanding voices and understanding is not CRT, it is the opportunity to better understand our country and our neighbors when we open up to include more experiences.
What role do school boards have in establishing policies that promote inclusion and diversity?
School needs to be a safe place for all. I have spoken to many LGBTQ students and advisors and am extremely concerned about the threats and harassment these students endure in our schools. I have also spoken with many parents of BIPOC children and am deeply troubled by the increase in racist language and hate speech that is occurring. We need to hold children accountable for their actions and that accountability needs to be happening in every school community. We need to make sure that everyone has a seat at the table and that we are not having discussions ABOUT people without their insights and input. We also need to be willing to be humble and teachable so that when an individual points out how our language or actions are offensive, we need to be willing to apologize and make changes.
Mental Health in Schools
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions are prevalent among Utah’s youth. Do you believe Utah’s educational system has a role to play in supporting the social and emotional wellness of its students? How can school boards support the needs of Utah students?
Absolutely schools play a role in supporting mental health. I have been proud to support the expansion of wellness rooms in our schools. I have also seen teachers seek out additional Social and Emotional Wellbeing training. We have increased mental health resources for our employees, recognizing the mental health needs of our staff. We have also increased the number of social workers, psychologists, counselors, and BCBAs. Part of the support comes from properly funding these positions. Part of the support is also listening to school administrators about the needs of their students and responding with the appropriate supports. I post information about mental health each Monday on my FB group.
Do you support governmental appropriation of taxpayer funds to provide support to parents who wish to have their children attend private schools?
I do not think government funds should be used for private schools and I was vocal about opposing the HOPE scholarship program that was pushed last legislative session.
Politicization of Education
How has the politicization of education changed the campaigning process—and the nature of school boards, themselves? Is this change beneficial to Utah's public school system?
I am fortunate in that I am running unopposed. But serving on a school board has become a safety concern. I have been told at times by law enforcement not to leave an event without a police escort. My own children have been targeted and we have had to install security cameras at our home as well as create safety plans for them. I do not feel the polarization is reflective of the community at large, but the way in which individuals are emboldened to libel and slander school board members as well as imply threats is concerning.
Is there an unasked question you would love to answer? Please tell us about the issue you are passionate about that we have not touched upon.