Community Hangout


The Utah State School Board: Why should YOU care?

Have you ever wondered what the State School Board actually does? Or, what control and responsibility they have in shaping the path of education? How does the School Board impact your local school district and schools?

United Way of Salt Lake hosted its third Community Hangout with special guests Debra Roberts, former Chair of the Utah State School Board, and Dr. Steven Hirase, Superintendent of the Murray School District. They discussed the role of the State School Board, how it impacts education in Utah, and why it’s important to know who wants to represent YOU

Watch the video from Tuesday, May 24, 2016.

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Links of Interest

Community Hangout Panel

Dr. Steven Hirase, Superintendent, Murray School District

Steven Hirase began his duties as superintendent of the Murray City School District on July 1, 2011 after 32 years as an educator, most of which have been spent in the Murray City School District. Dr. Hirase was hired in 1987 as principal of Grant Elementary School and after 4 years was appointed Director of Special Education, a position which he held for seven years. Upon the appointment of a new district superintendent,Dr. Hirase was named Assistant Superintendent over Curriculum and instruction where he remained for 13 years until taking over as Superintendent and Chief Operating Officer of the Murray schools. Prior to coming to Murray, he was the assigned as the first principal of the Utah State Prison School. Dr. Hirase is married to educator Sue Hirase,and together they are the parents of four children.

Debra Roberts, Former Chair of the Utah State Board of Education

Debra Roberts served for twelve years on the Utah State Board of Education, including five years as Chair of the Board. As Chair she oversaw the creation of a comprehensive vision for Public Education, known as Promises to Keep, and served on the Governor’s Education Excellence committee. During her time on the School Board Debra served on the Communication Committee, Audit Committee, and Law & Policy Committee,where she helped oversee concerns with educator quality, charter schools, and legislation. She also served on the executive committee of the Utah Rural Schools Association and was awarded the 2008 Rural Schools Friend of Education Award. Debra’s service to the community also extends to time on the National Association of State Boards of Education Study Group on Value Added Assessments, the Southwest Region Sterling Scholar Committee, a high school accreditation team, trust lands committee, and various PTA committees. She and her husband are the parents of six children and six grandchildren, and are the owners of a dairy-alfalfa operation in Beaver.

Past Community Hangouts


This hangout featured national experts, Chuck Marr, Director of Federal Tax Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Megan Tracz, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at United Way Worldwide, and local expert Barbara Munoz, Policy Analyst at CAP Utah; on a panel discussion about what's at stake for the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit.

Medicaid Expansion Panel

This hangout featured special guests who will talk about what's happening with Medicaid expansion in Utah, and how YOU can stay involved with this issue. Panelists were Representative Becky Edwards (Republican state representative from District 20), RyLee Curtis (Senior Policy Analyst with the Utah Health Policy Project), and Nate Checketts (Assistant Division Director at the Utah Department of Health).