Thirty years in, Education Foundation deserves our thanks | ParkRecord.com

Thirty years in, Education Foundation deserves our thanks

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Teachers returned to their classrooms this week with large ambitions. They are aiming to set up their students for success and to enrich their lives like only a first-rate education can. But in Park City, they don't have to do it alone.

Among the many annual rites that accompany the return of school, one stands out: The Park City Education Foundation is ramping up for another year of helping Park City schools deliver an excellent education.

But this is a particularly special school year for the foundation. It has reached its 30th anniversary, and it's a milestone that everyone in Park City should celebrate. The foundation began in 1986 with a $2,000 grant, but over the years, it has morphed into an organization that changes students' lives in meaningful ways on a near-daily basis.

It is no secret that Utah is dead last in per-student public education spending. Districts all around Utah have felt the effects of continuing to lag behind the rest of the country. Budgets have remained stagnant or grown only incrementally. Many students do not get the same opportunities they might elsewhere.

In Park City, the Education Foundation has taken on that burden. It's true the Park City School District is wealthier than most in the state, but its budget is far from unlimited. Without the foundation, many of the programs parents and students take for granted would cease to exist. There's the Author-In-Residence program, which brings a writer to town each year to speak with students. There's the district's preschool courses, which have drawn widespread acclaim. The list goes on.

It's important to note that the foundation's work does not just benefit a few students. The sheer volume of initiatives the foundation funds means nearly everyone who goes to class in the Park City School District is affected.

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And perhaps most importantly, the foundation provides resources for students public education often leaves behind. The foundation gives money for first-generation college students to visit in-state colleges and for the Park City High School student newspaper to publish content in Spanish. Recently, the foundation helped launch the Bright Futures program, which aims to give underserved students the help they need to not only get into college, but to flourish once they do.

The scope of the Education Foundation's work shows us what can be done when a community pitches in toward one goal. And everyone who lives in town or has attended Park City's schools is better off for it.

With 30 years of serving students in the rear-view mirror, the foundation will continue to count on the community to ensure many more fruitful decades to come. So when the foundation comes calling for donations this year, every Parkite who knows the value of education should do his or her part to pitch in.