Park City Board of Education pushes for community engagement
Informal exchange meetings will take place once a month
The Park City School Board of Education designates a half hour for public comment at every monthly meeting, but sometimes, that is not enough. Now, it will be setting apart another two hours for public engagement at its informal exchange meetings.
The decision to host them stemmed from the public’s desire to have more interaction with the Board and the Board’s interest to hear from community members, said Andrew Caplan, president of the Board. The regular Board meetings will remain focused on policy and budget, while the new meetings will center around public discussion.
“What’s happened in the past is a group has come in and they’ve presented a PowerPoint for 15 minutes,” he said. “By the time they’re done, we don’t really have a whole lot of time to have a discussion or dialogue. Really, the goal is to foster more of a dialogue with groups.”
Nonprofits, like CONNECT Summit County, are already scheduled to present at upcoming meetings this winter. Caplan hopes that groups and individuals alike come to present and discuss issues at the meetings.
“We feel like the Board has a responsibility to listen to different groups and constituents,” he said. “We want to give the time to the community to talk about issues that are important to them.”
The meetings will begin on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School. They will continue to rotate between different schools in the district, alternating times between the evening and afternoon. Times and locations have been decided until the end of the school year.
Caplan said it is a trial run and, if popular, will continue to take place in the future. He believes they will, partly because of the expanding Park City population and because of the large amount of community groups that are concerned with education.
Two Board members, Superintendent Ember Conley, Business Administrator Todd Hauber and Communication Director Melinda Colton will attend each meeting. Parents and community members can submit discussion points to Caplan if they are interested in covering a topic during the meeting. Individuals and groups are still invited to share presentations or input at general Board meetings every month.
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The Park City School District offices were inadvertently locked, but security footage was reviewed and the only two community members who showed up were let in and joined in an informal chat with Board of Education members and staff.