Guest editorial | ParkRecord.com

Guest editorial

Tania Knauer, JJ Ehlers, Philip N Kaplan, Nancy Garrison, Julie Eihausen, Park City Board of Education

As the Park City School District Board of Education, we would like to thank The Park Record for their attention to our bond proposition. It is important that the voters of Park City make their voices heard on Proposition One and the future of our schools. After a great amount of due diligence we feel that the bond presents the district and our community with a fiscally responsible plan that will help with our immediate needs while preparing for the future. Our focus is continuing to give our students an innovative and excellent learning opportunity.

Park City School District faces immediate, significant facilities needs. Specifically, we are at capacity in five of seven schools; the Treasure Mountain Junior High building is at the end of its useful life; there are urgent safety and future growth projects at McPolin elementary; and our arts and athletics spaces have had limited investment over many years. Enrollment capacity and academic programming, such as all day kindergarten, dual language immersion and project-based learning, necessitate a K-12 grade realignment. Accordingly, we must build facilities for 1050 students in 5th, 8th and 9th grades. These projects address student capacity needs and create an adequate academic environment for whole child education around core subjects as well as performing arts and athletics.

According to state statute, a local school board is authorized to set a capital tax levy to pay for needed infrastructure in the district. Every school district in the state imposes this levy annually; and Park City School District currently imposes it at approximately one-third of the state average. The Park City High School update was partially paid for with the capital tax levy. However, if we were put in the position of using the capital tax levy to fund construction, it would be more expensive for taxpayers and we would need to delay school building projects. The delay itself would likely incur construction cost escalation, while failing to meet urgent academic needs. We feel this approach is not in the best interest of our students.

Instead, we propose that voters approve a $56 million bond because it is the least taxpayer-impacting method to pay for construction. To date, the district is debt free and can issue bonds at historically low borrowing rates. It is common practice in Utah for school districts to fund construction through bond issuance. With the large increase in population in Utah County, Provo just passed a bond and Wasatch County also has a $62M bond proposal on the November 2015 election to deal with school growth.

Please make sure you understand the facts about Proposition One before you cast your vote. To learn more about the bond, please see our website at http://www.pcschools.us , friend us on Facebook "Park City Board of Education."

We will be holding the following community events to provide information to the public:

  • Oct. 7 – Jeremy Ranch Elementary School 6 p.m. in the media center
  • Oct. 13 – The Project for a Deeper Understanding 7 p.m. St. Luke’s Church
  • Oct. 15 – The Health Fair at the MARC (we will have a table)
  • Oct. 21 – Ecker Hill Middle School – 6 p.m. in the media center
  • Oct. 28 – Park City High School – 6 p.m. in the lecture hall