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A Response to Clay Stuard’s Proposal for Our Schools

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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. There are economies of scale, both financial and programming, that are lost when we create two schools instead of one.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.


Walt Wehner

What name calling is in the article?


North Forty Gang

You’ll notice I still posted it, but I think terms like that detract from the conversation. Note, I don’t live near Kearns, so I’m not personally offended… but I think it’s a distraction from the anonymous writer’s other points. It’s just my opinion.

Bill Humbert

One problem that we have in the United States is the lack of respect. Unfortunately allowing anonymous cowards to place offensive drivel in moderated forums is one of the root causes.

And since it is moderated, you really have a choice to publish or not. There is no reason to be “tired” of it.

I moderate a site where I will not allow anonymous posts.

There is a psychological reason that people on the far left and far right resort to any kind of name calling ( I am a political party agnostic). It enables them to demonize the opposing viewpoint. Therefore they feel they do not need to listen to that viewpoint (and actually possibly learn something new).

Let me personalize this a little. In September, I addressed the City Council where I accused one of them without mentioning who that I felt said that threatening the voters with the nuclear threat of a tax levy was bullying. I was there. I said what I said publicly. I was called out on it publicly. Just as I had the right to my opinion, the other person also had the right to their opinion – and both of us put our names on the line. I respected what she said.

Allowing people to post anonymously is promoting bullying and lost respect in the community – and it is also a reflection on the Park Rag. In this case it also reflected poorly on the supporters of the bond – just as if someone anonymously did not support the bond would also be irresponsible.

The Park Rag does so many things well. Hopefully you will tweak this behavior also. If someone wants to be irresponsible and put their name behind it, let them. As a result of the feedback they may tweak their behavior also; and become more responsible and respectful.

Since you know who this person is, simply let us know also. Thank you for the opportunity to blog on respect.


Hi Bill-

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. This actually came in through the “tip” section so there was no email, name, etc. with it when I posted it. While I disagreed, as noted, with the tone of the “tip”, since it countered Mr. Stuard’s opinion, I wanted to make sure I provided fair “air-time” to the opposing viewpoint.

Since that decision, I’ve received email that shares your opinion on this. Frankly, I’m still trying to figure out how to best handle community input. There’s a fine line between censoring ideas and censoring people because they aren’t willing to provide their name. One of the things I’ve learned out of the Park Rag process is that so many people in Park City are afraid of standing up and saying what they think because they are afraid of repercussions.

For instance, the pro bond folks will often cite that that it’s a “vocal minority” opposing the bond. Yet, the number of times I’ve heard “I’m against the bond but I can’t say anything publicly because I’m a teacher… or my business depends on the school… or my kid goes to school” has been really surprising. Some people are afraid. It makes me have that much more respect for your willingness to stand in front of the City Council and say what you think (regardless of how I may or may not feel about the bond).

So, if I want to enable the person who may work for the school district to speak anonymously about how they oppose the bond, how do I not provide the other side with the same opportunity?

Perhaps anonymous responses can only be made in the comments section? This person did come in later and try to leave the same information in the comments section under the name “Jodi.” Yet, I also want to let people know that they can send me anonymous information that the community should know about (i.e. corruption, etc,) via the tips section without compromising their identity.

I hope some of that makes sense and that it is apparent that I have at last thought about the issue. I do appreciate that you think the Park Rag does a few things correctly. I know I didn’t get this one quite right, and I’ll keep working to find the right balance.

As always, thank you for your contributions to our community.

Bill Humbert

Dear Parkrag,

Thank you. I respect the fence where you need to stand. It cannot be easy.

Suggestion – censure only those comments that lack respect.

I’ve been identified as a NIMBY by almost every board member where we’ve had communication – despite telling All of them several times it does not fit me. Honestly I do not fit into that box because where Dozier is located really doesn’t affect us. The word just allows them in their own mind to ignore my suggestions and comments.

Thank you for your thoughtful response to my note, Bill

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