Editorial: School board should try for a new bond in 2016
November 6, 2015
When asked about the failed school bond vote that would have, among other projects, substantially boosted his department’s facilities, Park City High School’s athletic and activities director was philosophical. "Being in athletics, you win or you lose and you move on." He went on to ensure that, regardless of the election outcome in which the Park City School District’s proposed $56 million bond — $12 million of which was earmarked for a field house and improved athletic facilities –was soundly defeated, the school’s coaches and players would continue to play their best.
"It’s the coaches and the kids that make the biggest differences, not the facilities," he said.
We hope that attitude prevails, at least for the coming school year while the school board revises its controversial masterplan.
Despite those who claimed opposition to the bond was coming from a lone neighborhood of NIMBYs whose concerns were based more on self-interest than what was best for the students the bond was defeated in every one of the district’s 31 precincts except two.
Apparently, there were serious doubts about various aspects of the ambitious district-wide makeover from all corners.
While the proposal to move the football turf to the site of the beleaguered Treasure Mountain Junior High School was a flash point in many of the debates, there were also serious concerns about building an additional middle school on the Ecker Hill campus along the already-congested Kilby Road.
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But even more than the specifics of the proposal, in the weeks leading up to the election, PCSD constituents directed most of their criticism at the process, saying the board had already made up its mind regardless of opposing viewpoints.
That was likely frustrating for members of the school board and those who served on the masterplan committee who had spent countless hours trying to do what they believed would best serve local students.
Unfortunately the scope of the board members’ ambitious plan grew faster than constituents’ willingness to trust them. And the district’s last-minute threats to penalize taxpayers with an onerous capital levy, widened the rift.
Let’s be clear though: while the Park City School Board fumbled its handling of a much-needed infusion of funding for bricks and mortar this year, it is on the right track. We hope they will heed their athletic director — learn a lesson from this season’s loss and come back next year with a deeper bench of experience.
Parkites are willing to spend money on education, they just want to make sure the plan will match the district’s needs well into the future.
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