October 6, 2015
As a retired school teacher, former youth sports coach, and parent of a ski racer/soccer player and a lacrosse/soccer player, I support quality education and value sports participation. I do not, however, support the current Park City School District bond proposal. Several aspects of the bond, such as full-day kindergarten, moving the fifth grade to middle school, and moving ninth grade to the high school are all sound academic steps. The bond proposal, unfortunately, contains too many excesses and unknowns to expect the residents of the PCSD to approve a $56 million bond.
Moving the ninth grade to Park City High School will require an addition to the south or west of the existing building. Although both options are feasible, building to the west will require the demolition of Dozier stadium, construction of a new football stadium at the site of the to-be-demolished Treasure Mountain Junior High School, and a soccer/track complex on the North 40 field. After several months of research, the Master Planning Committee recommended building to the south which would not require the destruction of Dozier Stadium. Why has the School Board decided to reject this recommendation, build to the west, demolish a recently upgraded Dozier stadium, and build a new stadium at millions of dollars of added expense?
The current bond includes $12 million for "Athletic Facilities Improvements", the majority of which is earmarked for a "multi-use indoor practice space". The Master Planning Committee recommendation did not include $12 million for "Athletic Facilities Improvements". Park City schools already have an available field house at Kimball Junction. The Snyderville Basin Recreation District is planning to build a field house at Silver Creek Village and if more space is needed, the county, Basin Recreation, Park City, and the PCSD are discussing building a joint-use facility at the Quinn’s complex. Wouldn’t it be wise to wait a year and see if this collaborative effort moves forward?
There have been several suggestions about where to house the 5th,6th,7th, and 8th grades. The bond proposal is to attach a new wing on Ecker Hill Middle School for the 5th and 6th grades, and use the present building for the 7th and 8th grades. Are the library, gymnasium, lunch room, and other common areas adequate for four grades? Has the School Board considered having one 5,6,7,8 school at Ecker Hill and one on the Kearns campus?
The current bond proposal would pay for some sorely needed capital projects that would improve the academic experience for our children. Unfortunately, a wish list of several optional projects has been included in this proposal. Too many unanswered questions, last minute decisions, and ill-defined proposals prohibit my yes vote for this bond proposal this November.
Ignore the Park City School Board threat to impose a Capital Tax Levy if the bond fails. Would the Board rather defy the wishes of their constituents or go back to the drawing board and do it right next year?
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Please join me in voting "NO" on Proposition #1 November 3rd and vote yes on a better proposal next year.
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