Originally printed April 27
Jody Hipwell currently represents District 1 on the Morgan School Board. Hipwell has been serving on the board since August of 2011 when she replaced Earl Ericksen, who passed away. Hipwell is a native of Ogden. After her marriage to her husband, Carl, they spent 17 years in the Southeast United States in Arkansas and South and North Carolina. Hipwell, who has four children, volunteered in schools in each of the communities where they lived.
“I have seen some of the best schools in the country and I have seen some of the worst schools in the country,” Hipwell said. She continues, “That gives me a little bit of insight into different types of school systems.” Her two youngest children both attend Morgan High School presently.
Hipwell moved to Morgan about 12 years ago. She has been volunteering in the schools here since their move. She has volunteered in the classrooms and has served on the PTSO. She served on the community council that provides input to the district on a variety of policy issues as well as on the disposition of trust land proceeds. She has also served on the education foundation and is currently on the scholarship board at Morgan High. She is a graduate of Utah State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Hipwell said that she has thoroughly enjoyed her time on the school board. She particularly commented on the large amount there is to learn in her role on the school board. Although she had served in many positions volunteering in the school, which she believes has given her a good rapport with principals, teachers, and administrators, there have been many new areas of learning in challenges faced by the board. Hipwell recently attended a session for school districts on Capitol Hill. She spoke of how the state was considering spending $800,000 on a program to help graduating seniors apply for college and find scholarships. She spoke up about the Morgan program run completely by volunteers that has been performing the same function here for no cost to the taxpayers. Hipwell has attended School Board Association conferences and will be a delegate to the School Board Association if re-elected.
Hipwell believes that Morgan has some of the best educators in the state. She points out that Morgan has three teachers with doctorate degrees and 29 teachers with master’s degrees. Morgan maintains these teachers with a tight budget. Morgan is fifth from the bottom of Utah counties in its spending on education per pupil, Hipwell said.
When interviewed, Hipwell had just attended the budget session of the school board. She commented on the challenges facing the board as they approach next year’s budget. The school district is faced with making cuts to the budget, but is working hard not to cut teachers. Hipwell is concerned that rising gas prices resulting in higher transportation costs may affect the district’s ability to fund extracurricular activities. Hipwell commented that it may be necessary to seek additional tax revenues to keep the standard of education currently experienced in Morgan.
Hipwell related that in the recent accreditation of the high school that the reviewers had commented on the student body of Morgan High School. It was reported that the students took pride in their school and actively worked to improve it. The report also indicated that Morgan was lagging slightly in technology.
When asked why voters should select Hipwell she related:
• She has been actively involved with the schools from the time she moved into the county.
• She has served on the community council.
• She has served as a substitute teacher.
• She has gained valuable experience on the board and is ready to continue with this learning to serve the county well.
Hipwell expressed appreciation for the great teachers and administrators in the district. She emphasized that we really should be looking at a tax increase this year to help our teachers keep their classes to a manageable size. “Many people move here because of the quality education Morgan County can provide. In order to maintain that standard, people need to be willing to pay for it. We have asked the teachers to cut back as much as we can. There is simply nowhere else to cut and we will be in even bigger trouble next year.” While she sees budget challenges ahead, she also is ready to serve and use the knowledge she has gained to help the board make good decisions to provide the best education possible for Morgan’s youth.
Hipwell has a website and she welcomes any questions and comments voters may have. Voters can visit www.jodyhipwell.com or you can email her at email@example.com.