District plans from the ground up after bond delay
An open meeting will take place Oct. 2
After a divisive past couple of years in planning, the Park City School District is starting from scratch with the help of community members.
On Monday, Oct. 2, parents, students, teachers and Board of Education members are invited to gather to define the district and its future. The strategic planning meeting is set to take place at the Blair Education Center at the Park City Hospital from 6 to 8 p.m.
Ember Conley, superintendent, is hopeful that various members of the community will come to share their opinions and work together to find solutions.
“It’s been seven years since the strategic plan was reviewed,” she said. “As we have grown, it is time to revisit the mission, vision, values and goals. We need to realign them with how we are evolving and changing.”
The district’s current values are excellence in teaching and learning, respect and commitment, personal and social responsibility, community engagement and sustainability of resources. With a recent push for safety at the district, that might be added, among other things, said Melinda Colton, spokesperson for the district.
According to Conley and Colton, the meeting will focus on answering questions like “What are our priorities?” and “What do we want our schools to look like?”
“We are not talking about bonds and facilities,” Colton said. “That is a meeting down the road. This charts our direction for the future, and that is something that we really need to know.”
Community members will sit at separate tables to talk in groups about the basic building blocks. From there, groups will share with everyone in an open discussion guided by the Board to define a strategic plan. A full agenda will be posted toward the end of the week on the district website.
Once the strategic plan is determined at the meeting, it will help drive the district’s Learning Plan, which defines the curriculum, and the Master Plan, which focuses on the facilities. This first discussion will help determine if the district will pursue a further bond, Colton said.
Two years ago, the district planned for an expansion of the high school and the construction of a new school for fifth- and sixth-graders with a $56 million bond, which was voted down by the public. There was talk of putting another bond measure on the ballot this fall, but the Board voted against it in August because of strong public disapproval.
“The failure of the bond was a wake-up call,” Colton said. “Somewhere along the line, we didn’t do a good enough job of engaging the community and communicating what the district truly needed.”
Now, the district is listening first before planning.
“We’re backing up, putting everything on hold, until we set everything up,” she said.
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A Trailside resident, and Snyderville Basin Planning Commission member, launched a write-in campaign for the Park City Board of Education hoping to “get the trust of the community back.”