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Guest Editorial

JOE ANN WEBERPark City

Amidst the turmoil and growing panic at the impending financial doom of the Park City School District, increasing public awareness requires that accurate, honest and factual knowledge be disseminated among concerned parties, especially in the public forum. The Park Record, therefore, does the community a grave disservice by the publishing of an editorial (March 7-9 edition) concerning the district and its teachers, an editorial so misguided and ill-informed that it must be swiftly and strongly repudiated and not allowed to stand unchallenged.

This unwarranted and uncalled-for attack upon our teachers, singling out them and them alone, questioning their "commitment," demanding they "share the burden," implying selfishness as their sole concern about "bigger class size," is insulting and unconscionable.

Since the author of this editorial is so obviously unknowing of the Park City School District’s hierarchy, here is a very brief synopsis, simple enough for all to comprehend. The District is run by the Park City School Board and its president. They are at the pinnacle of the organization chart, all fiduciary responsibility rests with them; they are the ultimate and final authority. The buck stops here! Reporting to and subservient to the board is the superintendent. Next down the line are many and various administrative staff personnel, principals, assistant principals, business managers, etc.

You will notice that nowhere in this scenario are teachers mentioned. Teachers do not determine, nor do they administer, policy administrators do! Ergo, to lay responsibility for this debacle at the teacher’s doorstep, thereby shifting blame and ignoring the overall larger problem, is demonstrably and woefully lacking in any credibility on your part or knowledge of "the system" and how it works or, in the present circumstance, how it no longer works.

It might be time better spent should you choose instead to focus on the District’s budgets of the last five or so years and begin to ask some hard questions of the bureaucrats, past and present school board members and presidents, superintendents and District administrators, who have served over this span of time and its subsequent financial decline. As you educate yourself on this issue, you will quickly learn that the fault does not lie with the teachers and, further, it is in fact a problem that has been coming for some years, largely ignored by those in charge, whose unsustainable programs and policies have brought us to this sad impasse. Why do you not demand accountability from these responsible parties?

Using teachers as scapegoats is a smokescreen as old as the public educational system itself, a convenient tool and an easy refuge for the banal and dull-witted critics among us who find it the lazy alternative to the truth. I do not understand why The Park Record would stoop to this practice. It is also time The Record stopped relegating this issue to the "Education" section of the paper, Section B, page 12. It belongs on the front page where educated and knowledgeable reporting will help to inform the local citizenry of this very real and critical financial crisis, until it is satisfactorily resolved or the District does, indeed, go bankrupt.

That should be your "commitment" and your "share of the burden."


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