Board receives no public comment at hearing about $79 million bond
Only 2 community members appeared
The Park City Board of Education held a public hearing Tuesday on its $79 million bond proposal, a hearing that ended after 10 minutes and with no members of the public present to comment.
The board quickly learned, however, that the exterior doors to the district office building, where the hearing was held, were locked, and two members of the public were left out.
Board President Erin Grady said the two community members were invited in and the district’s Business Administrator Todd Hauber repeated his presentation on the bond. The two community members then participated in a roundtable-style discussion with two members of the board.
“They indicated they did not have public comment, but instead had clarification questions about the bond proposition related to financing,” Grady said.
Grady said the district reviewed security camera footage to determine whether any other members of the public had arrived and been unable to enter the building. The only two members of the public who came, she said, were the two who were ultimately let in.
“We reviewed the footage up until 7 p.m. to ensure that no one else arrived, approached or attempted to enter the district office,” she said. “No one in fact came to the door or tried to attend.”
With only about five weeks until voters will decide the bond measure on Election Day, the lack of turnout at the hearing was striking. Grady, however, said she is pleased with the input the board has received from the community throughout the master planning process, which began in 2018.
“Because this is such a busy time of the year with the start of school, the Board of Education recognizes the pull on everyone’s time,” she said. “Furthermore, we recognize that understandably the pandemic and return to school has been a focus of attention.
“Also, the community has already been uniquely and deeply involved in the master planning process over the last four years and has had many opportunities to share their ideas and visions. We are grateful that we have more opportunities and a second hearing for further community input.”
The second hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, at the district office, 2700 Kearns Blvd.
In addition, the board announced an informal town hall meeting to be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, at the Ecker Hill Middle School auditorium, 2465 Kilby Road. That meeting, Grady said, will include two board members and district administrators, who will be on hand to answer questions and hear input on the master plan and bond proposal. An audio recording of the meeting will be posted to the district website for those who are unable to attend.
The district has proposed $129 million in capital improvement projects across its campuses as part of its yearslong master planning process, and officials are asking voters to approve the majority of the funding, $79 million, through the bond measure.
The projects would include new construction and renovation at Park City High School, Ecker Hill Middle School and Parley’s Park, McPolin, Jeremy Ranch and Trailside elementary schools. The projects would expand Park City High School to accommodate the ninth grade, Ecker Hill Middle School to fit the eighth grade and build additions to all four elementary schools for pre-kindergarten programs and other services.
Grady said the district is working to gather input and engagement from the community in many forms beyond just the legally required hearings. She pointed to the district’s bond information website, pcfutureoflearning.pcschools.us/bond-2021, as a resource for community members who want to learn more, and added that an informational pamphlet will be mailed to everyone in the district’s boundaries in the coming weeks.
“It is imperative that we continue to offer a variety of avenues for continued community engagement, and we plan to,” she said.
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Park City School District administrators and Board of Education members gathered at Ecker Hill Middle School Thursday evening for an informal community gathering, another chance before Election Day for the public to weigh in on…