Guest opinion: District must treat our greatest asset — teachers — with respect they deserve
This school year has been a long haul. Our teachers have performed so far beyond what anyone could ever expect that I am at a loss as to how to express it. We have been open this whole year, and that would NEVER have happened without our AMAZING teachers and staff. And now, of all times, the district decides to pull one over on teachers, putting all our children’s education at stake.
For years teachers have been hired with the understanding that they would be able to enroll their children at the elementary school of their choice. Our ability to recruit and retain quality teachers depends upon our district being an attractive place to work. Teachers knowing their children would be able to get a Park City education has been a huge draw for our district. Moreover, for many elementary school teachers, having their young children in the same building can make all the difference in quality of life.
To me this is a no brainer — teachers with children in the building are more invested in the school and become more a part of the community. I am a substitute teacher, and I am currently only interested in working in my own kids’ elementary school. Maybe that will change one day, but right now that works for our family — we ride our bikes every morning to the same building, we share almost the same schedule, and I am a part of making their school function. I care so much about every person in that building after spending almost every day there this school year, and I would never have dedicated myself like this if my kids weren’t there. So I get what it means to have your kids in the building with you.
District Policy 10010, Student Enrollment, as it applies to teachers during open enrollment, has been dormant for as long as any teachers I have spoken with can remember. To suddenly and without warning enforce this policy for teachers in the middle of open enrollment puts teachers at a disadvantage as compared to other student transfers. In fact, our priority should be the opposite. We should be specifically prioritizing the children of district employees in order to attract and keep the best talent. The district has denied or waitlisted over a dozen children of district employees across all four elementary schools with parents working all over the district. We lost two teachers this week as a direct result of this policy. This can’t be undone; we can’t get them back. If the district fails to act, we will lose more.
Somewhere along the way this district has forgotten that public education is about people and relationships and children. Park City is a small town with a tremendous sense of community, and treating our district’s greatest asset — our teachers — in this manner is anathema in Park City. Or at least it used to be.
What is the goal here?
Because I thought the goal of our school board and administration was to ensure the best possible educational experiences for our children.
Please contact the school board at PCSD-Board@pcschools.us, and tell them how you feel. This issue was absent from the May 18 board meeting agenda, and public comments were closed. The public can request a separate meeting: “(i)n the event of a specific topic that is foremost on the public’s mind or requires additional input and information, a separate town hall meeting, roundtable, or a separate meeting may be scheduled at Board of Education discretion.” (School Board meetings page, public comment guidelines).
Please, ask for a meeting — I don’t want to come back in August and find more of our best teachers gone.
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“I am concerned with reliance on the information coming from the ‘professional consultants’ without challenging or exploring the critical underlying assumptions driving their analyses,” writes Old Town resident David Gordon about the proposed PCMR project.