Candidate aims to bring fresh voice to Park City school board
Andrew Caplan has always been passionate about education, but with two children nearing school age, he views now as the right time to become more involved in the Park City School District.
To that end, Caplan is running for an open seat on the Park City Board of Education. He filed in District 2, comprising areas such as Highland Estates, Park Meadows North, Ranch Place and Snyders Mill. His challengers are Peter Yogman and Catherine Callow-Heusser.
Caplan has spent about three years on the board of directors for the Park City Education, where he has helped manage the organization’s endowment. Now, he wants to make a broader difference for Park City students.
"I feel like now it’s time to step up my involvement and really have an impact," he said.
Part of why Caplan is motivated to make his voice heard is that he feels this fall’s election will be a crucial one for the Park City Board of Education, which is facing several critical issues that will be resolved in the coming years. He said having his presence and background — he runs a small financial services company — on the Board would be an asset for the community.
"There’s everything from teacher negotiations to resolving the school bond issue to potentially dealing with grade realignment and school facilities," he said. "There’s a lot happening right now. And there are three seats up, which means there’s the potential that a majority of the school board is going to turn over this election. That’s significant."
Caplan said he would prioritize community feedback in figuring out those issues. He voted for the district’s controversial $56 million bond measure that failed last November, but said many in the community "felt they were being railroaded a bit in terms of what was being proposed."
He added that he doesn’t necessarily agree with that characterization but wants to ensure the community feels more engaged in future discussions.
"I don’t think there’s anyone who believes we shouldn’t spend money on children, that we shouldn’t spend money on teachers and shouldn’t have nice facilities and buildings — I think the community agrees on that," he said. "I think some of the stuff proposed in the bond, such as the athletic facilities and moving the football field and things like that, were unpopular.
"Could it have been done better? Yes," he added. "Will it be done better this next time around? Absolutely. I think a lot of the people who cared and had an opposition voice spoke up and things will be changed."
Caplan would also make spending money on teachers a priority. He views attracting good educators as one of the most important things a school district can do. He said his business and financial background would help the district hit the right mark among spending on teachers and everything else that goes into a successful district.
"There’s always a debate about spending, and it’s a careful balance between how much you’re spending on teachers versus facilities versus operating costs," he said. "I do that every day in my business, making tough calls."
Caplan is also hoping to represent young families with children just entering the school system, something he said the Board needs. He said infusions of fresh voices and new ideas are crucial for government bodies to be successful.
"I look at the makeup of the Board and the makeup of local government, in general, and it tends to be people who are retired, who have lived here for a long time," said Caplan, who has lived here full time for four years. "I think especially the school board needs younger representation and people with young families."
Caplan, along with Yogman and Callow-Heusser, will be on the June 28 primary ballot, where one candidate will be eliminated. The two with the most votes will move on to the November general election.
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