Guest editorial |

Guest editorial

Moe Hickey, Park City,

As a recently retired Park City School Board member, as well as a member of the Master Planning Committee, I want to express my full support for Proposition 1 and encourage our community to vote YES on November 3rd.

We are a growing community and we have needs that must be addressed. Since 2006, the Park City School District has seen 13 percent enrollment growth, with 10 percent of that growth in the last three years. We had flat growth this current year and yet five of seven schools have reached their full capacity. Trailside Elementary installed mobile trailer classrooms this year and Parley’s Park Elementary had a summer remodel to increase classroom count.

We are also seeing a continuing trend of students living outside of Park City Municipal. Currently we have 75 percent of our students living outside that boundary which makes has increased pressure on those elementary schools. It also points for expansion on the Synderville side of the district in order to meet that demand.

The Master Planning Committee was a dedicated and well-educated team of citizens, administrators, board members and educators, who spent countless hours meeting to study school facilities and analyzing the needs of our students.

In addition to the regularly scheduled meetings, there were three community workshops as well as numerous community outreaches by the PCSD Superintendent. The Board and Superintendent also held staff meetings at each of our current schools. The feedback received was incorporated into the plan by the Master Planning Committee where appropriate and discussed in great detail.

The committee presented the board with the consensus recommendation in August of this year. Although the proposal was not a unanimous recommendation, it did address the needs of the district. The plan as adopted by the school board took into account the work of the Master Planning Committee, feedback from the community and staff. This is something for which I commend the board, as this is part of their elected responsibility.

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The plan is forward thinking in scope, while allowing the district to address current needs being confronted. In my opinion the only thing a delay would accomplish would be to increase costs. Both construction costs and interest rates are rising and delays will add to the cost.

The District also engaged a financial advisor to determine the most effective method of funding. The advice was to enter into a bond for those purposes, based on the size of the project and the financial impact on the community. Paying for construction costs over the proposed 20-year bond term is the least taxpayer impacting way to proceed. Bond financing also speeds project completion, which limits taxpayer exposure to construction cost inflation. The more expensive alternative would be for taxpayers to fund student population growth through a higher school capital tax levy.

Because the district has completely paid off its debt and has a $19 million capital reserve, it can borrow on historically favorable terms. A portion of the total project cost, $10 million, will be paid from the capital reserve; decreasing the amount borrowed and cost to taxpayers.

If district voters pass the proposed $56 million bond, estimates show that the average primary residence, assessed at $639,000, would pay $10.27 per month and a business property or second home of the same value would pay $18.68 per month.

Many of us in the community were drawn here by two factors quality of life and the quality of education. We need to have the proper facilities for our students in order that they receive the best education within our means. This plan accomplishes those goals.

voting YES, school district taxpayers make a cost-effective investment in Public Education, which supports our local students and families.