Moe Hickey eyes return to Park City Board of Education
Moe Hickey served for nearly seven years on the Park City Board of Education until he relinquished his seat last summer when he moved out of the district in which he was elected. Now, less than year later, he is back for more.
Hickey is a candidate for the District 3 opening on the Park City school board. He is running against Art Brothers, Kevin Kennedy and Petra Butler in District 3, which consists of neighborhoods such as Park Meadows South, Park West, Silver Springs and Ranch Road South.
He said he is running because he still has something to offer the district and the students it serves.
"The big thing for me is that I truly care about the school district," Hickey said. "I certainly value the place of the school district within the community. To me, that’s something that I learned while I was on the Board. The school district in a town the size of Park City not only touches everybody, but the town touches the school district."
Attracting and retaining the best teachers, and paying them adequately — a task made more difficult and important due to the national teacher shortage — would be among Hickey’s chief priorities if he is elected. Park City teachers cash larger paychecks than most of their counterparts in the state, but their pay remains below average nationally, he said.
That’s something Hickey would like to see change, particularly since it is becoming increasingly expensive to live in the Park City area.
"Even though we won’t have negotiations coming up for another year, I think it’s important to keep in mind the impact teachers have on students," he said. " I’m not saying we have to be the No. 1 in funding to get to No. 1 in rankings. But there is some number in between. If you want to attract top teachers, you’ve got to make sure that they feel that they’re wanted in your district."
Hickey was a vocal supporter of the school district’s $56 million bond — he helped lead the early master-planning discussions before he stepped down from the Board — and he said he would be eager to dig back into that process as the school leaders continue to chart a way forward. He said most residents agree on grade realignment, but pressing issues include where to put fifth- and sixth-graders and whether to change school start times.
He added that the district should also be open to considering topics such as the merits of a year-round schedule. With so many important issues up in the air, now is the time to explore big ideas.
"I think we have a unique opportunity coming up to really look at the Park City School District very holistically and say, ‘What can we do now that will make the district even stronger for the next decade?’" he said. "I look forward to that conversation. I think there’s some great conversations that can take place if you tie this all together right now."
Hickey, who is the managing director of the Park City Institute, is also eager to serve on the Board of Education because he sees now as an exciting time in education. He said he wants to help Park City stake out a position on the forefront of the changes that will shape education in the coming years and decades.
"We can put our heads in the sand and say that technology doesn’t have a place," he said. "But it does. It’s not the be-all, end-all, but it has a place. So how do we manage that transition to the best of our ability? How do we manage the fact that our students have a world of information at their fingertips?"
Hickey, along with Brothers, Kennedy and Butler, will be on the June 28 primary ballot, where two candidates will be eliminated. The two with the most votes will move on to the November general election.
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The Park City Board of Education is on track to place a bond on the ballot this fall to improve district facilities. The top priorities would be to put ninth grade in the high school, eighth grade in the middle school and to augment preschool offerings by expanding elementary schools.