Park City teachers, like students, have lots to celebrate
June 7, 2013
It’s not just seniors who are flinging their mortar boards in jubilation this week. Behind the scenes throughout the Park City School District, teachers, administrators and citizen committee members are also celebrating some monumental accomplishments.
Late last month, school board members and representatives from the teachers’ union came to a far-reaching agreement on salaries and benefits, one that strikes a balance between rewarding tenure and merit, and offers teachers opportunities to earn additional money for extra work.
The agreement is especially notable because it calls for a three-year contract (instead of one or two as in the past), allowing the district to take a break from the often contentious back-and-forth negotiations that took more than a year to complete this time around. That means that both teachers and board members will be able to return their focus to kids and mutual goals rather than debating issues related to salaries and benefits.
Both sides in the negotiations deserve praise for their perseverance and for their willingness to compromise. Given the bleak economic backdrop and the community’s high educational standards, it was impossible to fund everything on everyone’s wish list. Nevertheless, both administrators and teachers were determined to ensure any cuts that were made did not compromise student programs.
The school board also announced this week that, after a 10-month search, it had picked a new superintendent. Next month the district will welcome Dr. Ember Conley as its new superintendent. She will be leaving her post as deputy superintendent of the Maricopa Unified School District in Arizona to move to Park City.
But Conley won’t be a complete stranger to many. The board conducted an open selection process that entailed introducing potential candidates to school administrators, teachers and parents. The board reports that the selection was unanimous and that Conley has their full support.
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Even during the contract tumult and anxious moments while hunting for a new leader, Park City teachers and the school board members stayed true to the course, offering local students a top-notch education.
The proof was on Dozier Field Friday afternoon as a new crop of talented seniors accepted their degrees well prepared to meet their next challenges.