The Utah Taxpayers Blog has an article on the nomination process for the school board. They claim that the canidates for the board are chosen by the UEA (Utah Education Association). The general election is just a rubber stamp for the members chosen by the UEA. Since one stakeholder in education conrols the nomination process, they pretty much control the whole shebang. The fact that other stakeholders are cut out of the process is probably a major reason why the current trend is for parents to pull their students out of public schools and put them in Charter or Private Schools.
Some people want to make the school board nominations partisan. The different parties would put up candidates. So, I guess we would start seeing Republican School boards in republican districts and Democratic boards in Democratic controlled districts. Others don't like this reform because it makes yet another part of the system divided on the silly Republican/Democrat partisan rift. The big benefit of being partisan is that it would be easier for a person who wants to be on the board to run for the position.
I brought this up because it shows the type of decisions that need to be made in building a system that is open to public discourse. It seems to me that there should be other ways for a system to be open than the party system. You could allow nominations from more than just the UEA, or have an independent non-partisan primary.