Weber County democrats demand answers

Weber County democrats demand answers

OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - Weber County democrats are banding together and demanding answers from Ogden School District.
OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - Weber County democrats are banding together and demanding answers from Ogden School District.

At its worst, the district was the lowest performing school district in the state and recent improvements have done little to calm concerns.

"We want solid figures so the people of Ogden can make a decision on is the school district going where they want it to go?" said Ben Pales.

As Weber County's democratic chair, he admits that things are currently going well for the district's elementary students.  An end of school year report shows their math and reading scores went up across the board last year. However, to Pales, it may not be enough.

"We still have not received anything for science and English," he said.

For that reason, his party formed an education caucus to see how students and the district's superintendent are doing.

"We want to see if the promises that he made when he first became superintendent are actually coming to fruition or not."  Pales said.

Some democrats say Brad Smith promised higher test scores, higher reading levels, and even post-secondary training for most high school students.  The district has improved to an extent, but some democrats say more is needed.

"There has been a slight increase," Pales said.  "We will give him all the credit in the world and the teachers for that slight increase, but it's nowhere near the increase that we had hoped for or expected to see." 

ABC4 Utah tried to reach Smith, but he was unavailable for comment. His supporters say attacks aimed against him may be a political ploy.

"This is not a political move at all," Pales said.

In fact, he said it is nothing more than a group of concerned parents looking out for their kids.

"Our caucus is under the flag of the democratic party," Pales said.  "But we actually have republicans, independents, and democrats in this caucus.  This is not political in nature whatsoever." 

Weber County Democrats told ABC4 Utah that their questions are far from being answered.  They said 90 teachers voluntarily left Ogden School District last year.  That is more than ever before.  For that reason, they'll continue demanding answers until they know why.

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