Letters to the Editor
Dear School Board:
As a product of the music programs offered in the Park City School District, our son Ryan is now a successful professional musician. The benefits of music education are not only in the joy and fulfillment music brings to the soul but many studies have proven scholastic benefits which cut through socioeconomic backgrounds and show improved test scores on standardized tests, reading proficiency and even the SAT scores. Concentration, coordination, independence, teamwork, problem solving and complex symbol recognition are all important life skills advanced by music education. To those in doubt, a brief read of "Music and the Mind," by Dee Dickinson put forth in the early ’90s should convince you.
Music is a language all people speak. To cut back on arts funding in any way will prove deleterious to future learning and counterproductive to producing the "whole" person. Our community expects excellence in education. We have often wondered why our educational foundation does not recognize achievement in the arts in the form of scholarships. Do we really want to cut back on arts education to give more funding to the three Rs (the very thing the arts have been empirically shown to improve?) — we think not. To do so will "dumb down" our students to levels of other Utah schools, not known for much more than increased class size and low scholastic national ranking. Ask any Realtor in town who is it that will want to move here and enroll their children in Park City Schools if academic standards diminish.
Parents of future and past graduates must realize that this proposed cutback would affect us all, as our students simply are our future.
Gayle and Bob Seaman
Father Bob is a hero
Nothing has impressed me more than Father Bob Bussen’s outreach to the gay and lesbian community; nothing has disgusted me more than the subsequent Inquisition and betrayal by St. Mary’s Parishioner Joseph Ozog and others (as detailed in the Salt Lake Tribune’s "Gay-friendly Mass On Way Out," March 5, 2007).
Mr. Ozog et al: You owe Father Bob, the parish of St. Mary’s and the entire community of Park City an apology.
It is a daring move, and one for which I am not sure you qualify, to assume the leadership of an enterprise that invades a priest’s privacy, exploits his personal struggles, and censures a relationship between a faith community and its church.
The Salt Lake Tribune quotes you as saying that "this is not about Father Bob," and I agree with you. This is not about Father Bob; this is about intolerance.
It would behoove you to stand back and listen to the voices that have been quelled by this antiquated and hateful catechism that you hope to propagate; St. Mary’s has long been a beacon of justice, progress and open-mindedness in Park City, and your recent residence has apparently not afforded you this insight.
Those of us who know, love, and respect Father Bob support his leadership out of a dark past and into an enlightened future. Father Bob is the finest example of the Christian spirit in action and the embodiment of what the Catholic Church set out to do in the first place — to bring people together.
While I am sure that the Pope is busy reviewing the recording of Father Bob’s sermon and analyzing the copies of the Web log transcripts, I hope that you are busy reviewing your conscience.
In support of Father Bob
I find it hard to believe that some members of our St. Mary’s parish have attacked Fr. Bob because of his concern for gay Catholics and their families. I guess there are some among us who still feel, deep down, that homosexuality is a disease that needs to be cured. How sad.
My wife and I are proud to call Fr. Bob our friend.
Park City and Venice, Fla.
Sidewalks in Park Meadows
I wanted to voice my continued concern about the lack of progress towards the implementation of sidewalks in Park Meadows. I am convinced that only luck has prevented a serious accident or death along Little Kate by the Racquet Club and along Lucky John by the public schools. It is absolutely terrifying for me to think of my children walking along those streets with the careless and speeding drivers I have witnessed along those roads. Even the most cautious drivers are prone to slide and skid on the snow and ice that accumulates during the winter. Many times I have seen cars swerving into the bike lanes.
Even when I walk with my children, or we ride our bikes, it is a stressful situation. Unfortunately, I often drive because I am concerned about their safety along these streets. My children live too close to the schools to be provided with bus service and if I paid the additional fee for them to take the bus, they would be forced to walk along Lucky John to the closest stop and that doesn’t resolve many of my concerns.
I know that this is a complicated issue, but I also know that I, and many of my neighbors would be happy to sacrifice a portion of their front yard, landscaped or not, to provide an area for a safe sidewalk. We all live in this neighborhood to be close to the schools and town. We live in this neighborhood to be connected to other families. What a shame that we don’t feel comfortable letting our children walk or ride their bikes!
Where’s the outrage?
There are many positive attributes that draw families with young children to Park City, not the least of which is it’s reputation for excellent schools. Current underfunding aside we’ve been pleased with my sons’ school. The quality and dedication of their teachers is outstanding.
That said, I attended the school district budget meeting last week and was shocked. Proposals ranged from increasing class size to reducing counselors to freezing retirement benefits to offering a one-time payment for seasoned teachers to leave. Every potential recommendation was aimed at cutting the budget. There was no mention of raising the revenue side. School staff would bear most of the cuts with the administration left almost untouched. Teachers, support staff, school kids and taxpayers were allowed three minutes at the microphone to support their views.
Eloquent all, at times seemingly reduced to pleading for their cause (or jobs), there was NO support for the school board’s proposals. So I ask this question: Where’s the OUTRAGE?
How do these budget cuts fit into Governor Huntsman’s proposed increases in school spending? How did we suddenly have a budget shortfall of something on the order of $2 million? Every realtor in town refers to the Newsweek study that ranked Park City in the top 150 high schools in the nation and claim that our goal is to crack into the top 10. If the school board is allowed to chase out dedicated and experienced teachers, freeze or reduce benefits, increase class size, etc. how will Park City ever attract the talent needed to maintain its ranking, let alone improve? Is the local real estate industry aware of these issues? Are taxpayers aware of these issues? Do these groups care? If not, they should.
The school board has demonstrated they lack leadership and vision and do not represent their constituents’ goal of a top educational system that Park City has come to expect. I am hopeful that enough outraged citizens rise up, make themselves heard and can help effect a change before it is too late.
East Side trash
Contrary to what some in Park City may think, we simple folk on the East Side of the County do read a newspaper on occasion and, surprisingly, even The Park Record now and then. What a thrill it was to open your paper to the Viewpoints page and find the intriguing editorial cartoon in your March 7 edition. (Yes, pictures do help us slow-witted Easties make it through the entire paper without assistance).
John Kilbourn, cartoonist, chose to deal with the subject of Representative Mel Brown and the controversial change in form of county government. Mr. Kilbourn depicts Mel beholden to a constituency comprised of a hooded KKK member, a Book of Mormon-toting bishop, and a well armed, poach-em-when-you-can hunter named Bubba. My difficulty with this depiction is trying to figure out which one represents me. I did not support the proposed change in form of government as it was presented, but I do recognize that it passed by a very narrow margin. We should get on with the business of change. I find the cartoon’s attempt to paint many of us Easties as mere trailer trash an affront to our intelligence. I understand the broad leeway given editorial cartoonists to deal with controversial subjects and the right of newspaper editorial boards to support them in such efforts, but let’s see some balance. How would John depict three Westerners gloating over their victory at the ballot box? I have my own ideas, but I’ll keep them to myself. For now, we Easties will just have to continue stockpiling white hoods, Books of Mormon and shotgun shells waiting for the world to end when the new County Council takes over. As so much trailer trash, we don’t have much else to do anyway.
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“We would also agree that the way Hideout is going about its business is not creating harmony within our community,” writes Jeff Sterling in a guest editorial. “There must be a better way. Hideout, the choice is yours.”