"I am concerned about my child’s education and you are talking about covered tennis courts," was a comment from a concerned mother directed at school bond supporters during a recent forum. She hit the nail right on the head. There is too much emphasis on athletic facilities in the current bond proposal and not enough on education.
The Park City School District Mission Statement reads as follows:
"Park City School District empowers students to develop their knowledge, skills, and potential as critical thinkers. We maximize resources for academic rigor and excellence through staff, programs, and technology that make learning relevant to the emerging world in which we live."
With this statement in mind, we need to differentiate between curricular and extra-curricular activities. While extra-curricular activities are good, the Mission Statement’s emphasis is correctly placed on the established curriculum.
We currently have fine extra-curricular programs and facilities, with the exception of the high school gymnasiums and locker rooms. Visiting teams rave about our fields and with a little updating, the Dozier track, soccer, lacrosse, football facility will serve our needs for years to come. Our joint use ice rink, tennis facility, aquatic center, and field house are an asset to both our students and the community. The upgrades to the high school gymnasiums and locker rooms must be provided by the School District. However, if we need another field house, ice rink, or pool, they should be joint use facilities built by the city and county.
As mentioned in the Mission Statement, if we expect to empower students to develop their knowledge, skills, and potential as critical thinkers we need to maximize resources in the classroom. That starts with exceptional teachers. If we expect to attract and keep outstanding teachers we must pay them enough money to be able to live comfortably in Park City. Instead of spending millions of dollars tearing down stadiums and building unneeded athletic facilities, let’s find a way to get more money and resources to our teachers. With the support of parents and administrators, our teachers can put the Park City School District back on top academically.
Unfortunately, the Park City School Board has missed the boat with the current bond proposal. We need to get our PRIORITIES straight. There is too much emphasis on fields and buildings. It’s not the classroom that is responsible for Excellent Education, it’s what happens inside the classroom. We need to wait until next year and create a better plan, one that truly supports the Park City School District Mission Statement.
Our students and parents deserve better. Together we can make it happen. Vote no on Proposition #1.
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.