The school board has been in the news lately, so maybe it’s time we had a quick review of their record and performance. Park City High School is not the best in the state anymore. Using the now infamous Newsweek formula, West High passed us last year. Although a flawed formula at best, we’ve lost bragging rights.
Teacher morale: Last year, three history teachers within our own district and with decades of experience applied for the open social studies position at the high school. Instead, they hired someone from outside the district with only one year of experience. Last year, three high school teachers within our own district and with decades of experience applied for the open vice principal position at the high school. Instead, they hired someone from outside the district. Outside applicants should have been graciously turned away out of respect for our own professionals. Why didn’t the superintendent just call these six teachers in to his office and kick them in the shins? Probably would have been less painful.
Now they’re firing and then rehiring principals. Does anyone over there have a clue about respect? Do you think this lack of respect and values trickles down to the classroom and our kids?
Money: Before reconstruction of the high school began, capacity was about 1,400. When reconstruction is finished, capacity will be about 1,400. $30 million is buying "an easier way to get around," not more classrooms. While the high school will be getting straighter hallways, other schools are using outdated equipment. Ask your kids about TMMS. Your tax dollars are getting wasted! And now they are giving it away. Remember that $1.5 million shortfall from a while back? We can get it back but our school board refuses to do so. The previous business administrator is insured and bonded which means the money can be recouped. Has our board filled out the paperwork? And now they want to cut programs. How do you lay someone off with a $30 million money pit staring us in the face? Their new solution to save money is larger class sizes. You heard me, 26-to-one is the new standard of excellence I guess.
I have a better idea — realign the grades back to normal. The board says we lost money due to under-enrollment. Great, put the ninth grade back where they belong. With the higher gas prices, think of the money saved if we stop busing kids from Summit Park to TMMS and Prospector to EHMS. As taxpayers (and they went up this year), we should demand accountability. Why are we spending millions on this high school while ignoring more serious problems? Why haven’t they filed a claim for OUR $1.5 million? Why were our best teachers insulted when they applied for open positions? Why do we expect the best from our teachers but not pay them the best? How can skyrocketing property taxes and a six-percent increase in funding from the state make a district go broke?
Call or e-mail your local school board member and demand answers. Give those history and principal applicants a second chance. Tell them budget cuts are not acceptable. Tell them to bring all the schools to the 21st century. Do it for your kids.
A reader involved in addressing mental health in Summit County applauds Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz and his wife Elena Amsterdam for their efforts to help mountain towns wrap their arms around the issue.