Record editorial: Big decisions loom for Park City School District as we celebrate graduation day

On Friday, the community is set to gather once again at Dozier Field to send off another class of Park City High School graduates.

It will be cause for jubilation, a time to celebrate the achievements of an outstanding group of seniors and to dream on the futures that will unfold for each of them. Certainly, they will make their hometown proud.

But the commencement ceremony also comes as the community is pondering the future of the school district itself and the experience remaining students — and those who haven’t even entered the school system — will have as they chart their own paths to graduation day.

The district is deep into its latest master planning process, with officials recently unveiling four grade alignment scenarios to the community and Board of Education. Once the elected officials select an option, specifics about what capital projects are needed to make it work — and, critically, the cost of the projects and how they’ll be funded — will be filled in.

Residents who have kept up on the district’s master-planning efforts since 2014 know how critical it is for school officials to get it right this time. The bond measure in 2015 to pay for an expansion of Park City High School and a new fifth- and sixth-grade school was scuttled by an inability to get buy-in from community members. A follow-up effort in 2017 was halted in the late stages when, once again, support from residents failed to coalesce.

For the sake of our students, let’s hope the third time’s the charm.

The district itself has acknowledged the urgency and, accordingly, chose not to simply repeat the steps followed in the two master-planning processes that previously failed. Instead, committees began by focusing on the needs of students and what kind of education the community wants to provide them. It will be up to school officials to ultimately present a final plan that reflects those principles and to adequately convey that to residents to win their backing.

If you’ve been following each step of the master planning process and providing your opinions, keep it up — the district is depending on your feedback. If not, it’s important to educate yourself now as the process reaches its final stages.

The stakes are high: As we honor another high-achieving class of Park City High School seniors, future graduates are counting on the district, and the community, to get it right.

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