PCSD moves toward CAPS program

Megan Yeiter , The Park Record

The Park City School Board voted to move forward on a Center for Advanced Professional Services program, which several school district employees have been investigating for about a year. According to PCSD Student Services Director Tom VanGorder, the school district would have to come up with roughly $75K per year for the next two years to get the program up and running.

The CAPS program would allow students in secondary schools to gain practical work experience in areas such as global business, the hospitality industry, sports medicine, bio sciences, filmmaking, and technology in programming and game development, VanGorder said, adding that work experience would also count as concurrent enrollment course credit. A few of the potential business partners include Zions Bank, Intermountain Heath Care, The People’s Health Clinic and Westminster College.

During a board meeting on Tuesday, Park City School Board President Moe Hickey said he’s leaning toward a tax increase along with the recommendations Superintendent Ray Timothy made to the school board in order to shave roughly $4.7 from the PCSD budget for the 2012-2013 school year.

"If this means raising the tax to meet the $150K (for the CAPS program), then I think we should do it, because it’s worth it for the students," Hickey said. "It’s not the most savvy move, but I think we’re going to have to raise taxes anyway. I think it’s a good investment, personally."

School Board Member Charles Cunningham expressed his concern with the timing of the program amidst the budget predicament.

"It seems to me that people are upset that we’re talking about eliminating jobs and then were talking about spending $150K, I don’t know about the timing unless we can get the money from someone else," he said.

The school board plans to do just that by, hopefully, partnering with the Park City Education Foundation for fundraising assistance. According to Lisa Kirchenheiter, the school district needs to take the plunge first.

"We keep waiting for someone to commit to the program, but they won’t until we commit," she said.

The PCSD has been working with Donna Deeds and John Newcomb of the Overland, Kansas CAPS program, VanGorder said, adding that the PCSD will use their program as a reference point to help establish what is relevant for Park City students.

"Our next step will be to hire someone who can focus their efforts on the development and implementation for our CAPS program, which will probably be two positions rolled into one," he said. "This is a huge undertaking to begin with and someone is going to have to spend a lot of time getting this together. We’re working on a job description for a CAPS coordinator."

Timothy will also be meeting with the Utah Department of Workforce Services to come up with some seed money for the next two years, VanGorder said, adding that the program won’t reach its full capacity until the 2013-2014 school year.

VanGorder said initially they don’t plan on building a CAPS building, but will ask the participating businesses to provide workspace at each location for the students.

"We just want to see how many students are interested before that is discussed," he said.

For more information regarding the CAPS program visit the school district website at . To learn more about the CAPS program in Overland, Kansas visit and click About Us.

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