School board candidate Kevin Kennedy aims to give back
A college degree had always been the one thing missing from Kevin Kennedy’s resume.
It hadn’t stopped him from forging a successful career, but he wondered how he could impress upon his young daughter the importance of getting a degree if he, himself, didn’t have one. And he had long thought about going back to school to earn one, if for nothing other than a sense of personal satisfaction.
A few years ago, he finally took the leap and earned his final college credits and his degree from the University of Utah. Now he’s hoping to jump into education in another way.
Kennedy is one of four candidates running for the District 3 seat on the Park City Board of Education, alongside Moe Hickey, Art Brothers and Petra Butler. District 3 comprises areas such as Park Meadows South, Park West, Silver Springs and Ranch Road South.
He sees serving on the Board of Education as a form of community service.
"My little girl is in the school district, so I get a lot out of it," he said. "So if I can help by giving, so be it. I want to help."
If elected, Kennedy said he has no specific agenda to put forward, but he hopes to increase the district’s engagement with the community. He said he wants to ensure everyone is heard.
"It needs to be right down to a kindergartner, asking, ‘What exactly do you do for me?’ all the way through parents and other board members," he said. "As long as everyone is having an open, honest conversation, then things can be accomplished. Once there’s closed-door talks or eliminating the number of people involved, then we all are negatively affected."
He added that the district must take a proactive step toward reaching out to residents, rather than the other way around. He suggested holding large meetings twice a year in a school auditorium or the Eccles Center where the community is invited to hear about the state of the district and provide feedback in an informal environment.
"You have to go out and find people," he said. "And not just business leaders or community leaders in other areas — just your typical Joes."
Kennedy would also like to see those who have complaints about the district pitch in and get involved.
"It’s very easy to find a problem with something," he said. "It’s a lot harder to find a solution."
Among his other areas of focus would be making sure the district is doing all it can to engage students when they are young. He said his own experience of being largely disinterested in school likely led to him not completing college when he was younger. Kennedy does not want students in Park City to share that outlook.
"I guess with education, you can probably make a big impact early on," he said. "I always want my daughter to enjoy school, because once you don’t enjoy it, then it makes the next bunch of years difficult. And it’s hard to get that enjoyment back once you lose it. It has to be challenging, but fun at the same time."
A financial planner by trade, Kennedy described himself as a fiscal conservative. He said spending money responsibly, and proving that to the taxpayers, would also be a priority.
"Just detail how it’s going to be used, why it’s going to be used, and are there any other solutions that haven’t been exhausted," he said. "I think that’s all people care about. Park City has always been very pro spending on schools. I think as long as we all know what’s happening with our money, we don’t really mind."
Kennedy, along with Brothers, Hickey and Butler will be on the June 28 primary ballot, with the two candidates receiving the most votes moving on to the November general election.
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A district spokesperson said six students were removed from an area in the school as police conducted a search.