Guest editorial: School bond is ill conceived
Stunned! I’ve had a home in Park City for 30 years and have never witnessed such vitriol as I am now reading in The Park Record over the upcoming school bond. It is beginning to sound like our U.S. Congress.
Our Park City School Board has held open meetings asking for citizen input and has given us various versions of previous plans and internal discussions. They then devised a $56M bond drive that is over-the-top regarding athletic endeavors that are not unlike trying to lure an NFL franchise to Park City. They can’t make up their mind on which side of the high school it makes sense to expand.
The original rationale for expanding onto the current site of Dozier Field was, "A ninth-grader may want to take trig and he can’t walk from one side of the high school to the other in 10 minutes." Huh? I attended two major universities and 10 minutes were the standard allotment for getting between classes.
I totally support the rationale that kids get better grades if they partake in athletics. But don’t we live here in Park City where sports opportunities and offerings are everywhere? Then someone on the PCSB said, "Well, Vernal has an all-weather facility!" So now we’re trying to keep up with Vernal? The all-weather facility was justified so our boys’ lacrosse team can practice in winter. Huh? Please let me understand, we are going to spend $15M for an all-weather athletic facility so 20 boys can practice lacrosse? Even if we throw in the girls soccer team, who are doing quite well, thank you, without an indoor field, and it still doesn’t make any sense.
I can’t believe any citizen would hold back tax dollars from the Park City School District if it is required for growth. But the excess that the PCSB is asking for in this current bond is beyond measure as to fiscal responsibility. Maybe next year, they’ll propose buying 20 BMW convertibles to teach drivers ed.
After giving us fatuous reasons for why they need $56M, the PCSB went quiet for about three weeks because none of their arguments was resonating with the public. Then the bomb hit. Julie Eihausen on KPCW said that we either do it with the bond measure or we’ll do it through raising the levy because the decisions have been made. Huh? If that’s the case, why did they ask the public for input? The arrogance of this remark from the PCSB stuns me.
Recently, on KPCW, Philip Kaplan said it all comes down to a "financial decision" and the bond is the best way to pay for needed expansion. Apparently the inane reasons are fading and this is all turning into a financial decision.
This whole bond issue displays the same characteristics of the Professional Development Building episode from four years ago; a silly, meritless idea that had no basis other than, "We have the money so let’s spend it!"
Imagine if the second home owner community could vote on this. They don’t use the facilities but they sure pay for them, and with this bond, most will pay dearly. I can’t believe that the Utah Legislature allows us to throw money at our schools up here and doesn’t come and take their fair share.
I say VOTE NO on an ill-conceived, poorly drafted, and questionably marketed plan. It’s time for the PCSB to go back to the drawing board and present our community with a plan that better complements our educational goals and common sense values.