Association head’s goal :make life great for Park City Teachers |

Association head’s goal :make life great for Park City Teachers

Frank Fisher, of the Record staff

Last year would have been a brutal year to represent Park City teachers who faced uncertain futures with a district scrambling to find major cuts that could act as tourniquets for hemorrhaging budget reserves.

As it turns out, new Park City Education Association President Michael Holland was the acting vice president, helping solve gargantuan problems that may make this year seem like kids stuff.

Holland, a fourth-grade teacher at McPolin, said he always wanted to teach. He helped raise his brother, 13 years his junior. Holland got his masters degree in special education, and after a brief stint teaching in Salt Lake, he was offered a teaching job at McPolin. Holland, an avid skier, fell in love with Utah for its exceptional skiing.

It was a natural step for Holland to want to help the teachers he worked with in the district. He was elected by his fellow teachers to head the association at the end of last year.

As president of the Education Association, he said he represents 220 of the 280 district teachers. He feels association dues are well worth the representation teachers get and the information they receive. The state’s Utah Education Association also uses the teacher dues in working with the state legislature.

Teacher contract negotiations will begin in February or March. Holland says negotiations are successful if teachers and the district end up in a win-win situation.

Holland works not only contract negotiations, but also non-monetary negotiations. He represents teachers facing disciplinary action. He also helps teachers understand what district expectations are of educators.

On Oct. 29 and 30, Holland will be attended the yearly UEA convention in Salt Lake City, and hopes other teachers will do the same on their two days off. He said the convention is a great opportunity to meet with other teachers, and not only discuss issues, but also to pick up teaching tips from one another. Holland sees school vouchers as being the hot topic at this year’s convention. He added the association is 100 percent against vouchers.

Holland sees his biggest challenge as continuing to attract and retain teachers. "We have a teacher shortage nationwide," he said. "Combine that with a high cost of living with high housing prices and gas prices, and it gets tough."

"It’s hard for teachers starting at $34,000 a year to make it living in Park City," he said. Teachers used to be able to afford Heber, but it’s growing like a rock star."

Holland thinks open communication with both teachers and district heads off problems before they become problems. "It’s frustrating for teachers to find things out at the last moment." Holland said he is trying to make information easily accessible to teachers with monthly newsletters and he said he tries to get to schools often to talk with teachers. "But I don’t want to be the guy who knows everything." He hopes teachers will research topics and reach their own decisions.

When asked if he has aspirations for political office, Holland laughed, said he is focused on teaching and his association responsibilities And maybe a little skiing when he has a chance.

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