We received an anonymous reply to Clay Stuard’s proposal on how he would recommend we approach a bond for our schools. It has some standard name calling that’s getting frankly getting a little old. Any upgrade to our schools is likely going to impact almost everyone in our community. If you have kids and are in support of the bond are you a “NIMBY” because it benefits you personally? If you don’t have kids and are against the bond are you a “NIMBY” because you don’t directly benefit from it? It’ so tiring. Does it even matter? OK, my rant is done.
So, in the interest of fairness, and hopefully trying to have a constructive conversation, here is the reply to Mr Stuard’s proposal:
Mr. Stuard’s proposal contains many flaws which reveal either his lack of knowledge of our school district community and the facts, or he is intentionally misleading.
- The master planning committee and school board could spend another year and hundreds more hours but a solution that everyone will agree to do not exist. We have an incredibly knowledgeable and talented school board; the best I have seen in many years. The “North 40 Gang” will never agree to any plan that puts a stadium or field house on the Treasure Mountain site. Is our community going to allow NIMBYs to hold the school district hostage?
- Mr. Stuard seems to assume that the Committee and School Board did not consider many, many options. THEY DID. The committee of 12+ people, made up of community members and professional educators met for 150+ hours over a 10 month period contemplating ideas to address the needs of the district. That’s 1800+ brain hours. Countless options were listened to and considered, even the crazy ones. For people to suggest it was rushed and not thought out is ludicrous. The community workshops were very well attended. When people don’t get their way, they often claim they weren’t listened to.
- Mr. Stuard’s plan will not decrease the number of students on the Kearns campus. The School District’s plan decreases it by around 450 students plus staff.
- In Mr. Stuard’s plan most of the students at Ecker Hill would be from Jeremy. Most of the students from Trailside and Parley’s area would be bused to Kearns. 72% of students are eligible to ride the bus. Whether it’s to Kearns or Ecker won’t change that number much.
- As a Park Meadows resident I am offended and embarrassed by Mr. Stuard’s statement. He and I must be in different communities. Our school district is one community; not an in-town community vs. out-of-town community as some have insinuated. Students are in dance classes, music programs, ski teams, soccer teams, etc., with students from other schools often starting in preschool. They like being together. I asked my daughter and her friends who just graduated from PCHS if they would have liked two middle schools as Mr. Stuard proposed and I received a very loud NO! Has busing “city” kids to Ecker for the last 10 years hurt their sense of community? I think not, in fact, it expanded it. Keeping Park City, Park City doesn’t mean becoming a community of elitists.
- There are economies of scale, both financial and programming, that are lost when we create two schools instead of one.
- The claims by Bruce King of 1 1⁄2 hours per day on a bus are ridiculous. That’s equivalent to going to Rowland Hall. From my stop in Park Meadows the ride averaged 15-20 minutes each way. The kids enjoyed the time socializing with friends. My kids liked riding the bus to Ecker and it made my life easier. Remember these aren’t 5 year olds. School facilities for ALL GRADE LEVELS in Park City limits is needed to have a complete community.
- Removing one campus from Kearns will help with the bus situation at PCHS. Hopefully they will find they don’t need to use Lucky John when they see that eliminating buses going between TMJH and PCHS will help the problem immensely.
- The school district needs a field house. Over 60% of PCHS students participate in athletics. While the school board is not averse to working with the city, a field house at Quinn’s is not in the best interest of students. Located on the Kearns campus, a field house will be used by PE classes, 800 + student athletes, marching band, etc. It can also accommodate whole school assemblies, teacher development workshops and graduation when it rains. Evening practices can be held indoors instead of under the lights in the freezing weather. Requiring students to jump into cars and rush to Quinn’s or Basin for practice is not the right answer. Eight spring sports with almost 400 athletes compete for training space on a daily basis when fields are buried in snow. A recent tour of similar schools revealed that Bear River, Morgan and Wasatch districts all have a field house.
- Mr. Stuard’s plan will cost more. I could expand on this, but anyone with a basic understanding of school construction will see this. Examples: Building a middle school instead of elementary is more expensive. Building a second story which the foundation wasn’t built to support is more expensive. Mr. Stuard’s plan requires building both a new middle school, expanding an existing middle school and expanding the high school.
- Mr. Stuard’s plan creates two 5-8 grade middle schools. In the state of Utah 5th and 6th grades are elementary ̧ 7th and 8th are secondary. Combining them into one school creates difficulties with programming due to certification distinctions and dual immersion. Mr. Humbert’s claim that the District’s plan creates the largest middle school in the state either shows his lack of understanding or he is intentionally spreading misinformation. The 5th – 6th grade school will be a separate elementary school on the same site as Ecker. Just as McPolin, TMJH and PCHS are on the Kearns campus, yet they are 3 schools.