School Board Postpones Decision on Professional Studies Building Indefinitely Without Any Discussion?
On Tuesday the Park City School Board was supposed to vote to re-affirm their commitment to the $5.7 million Professional Studies building that would hold PC CAPS, among other things. In a surprise move (at least to us) School Board Superintendent Ember Conley recommended (via reading a letter she had written) postponing a decision on the Professional Services Building until a comprehensive review of the district’s building needs was completed. This was then approved unanimously by the board.
School Board president Moe Hickey was asked this morning by KPCW’s Leslie Thatcher if this is something they discussed in a closed meeting. He said no and then continued to describe why delaying a decision was important. We have watched video of the meeting a few times and it seems strange. Dr Conley reads a letter she has written about the PC CAPS building and the growth at other Park City Schools. She then cites that she and the Leadership Team think we need to perform a study of all district needs before moving forward. A motion is then made by board member Nancy Garrison to defer the decision on the building, per the letter. NO DISCUSSION around deferring the decision occurs. They then all vote for delaying it.
If we go back in time to May 20th, all members of the board (except Ms. Knauer) voted for the building. Then suddenly on Tuesday they all decide it should wait, without discussion? We get why Ms. Knauer may have voted that way but the rest? Did they all read the PTO letter that was sent out calling into question the timing of the building and then all individually decide more discussion needed to take place?
We’ll stop being coy. This is the type of decision that should have been discussed in front of the community. We’re not sure where, or if, it was discussed as a group beforehand (it shouldn’t have been discussed as a group) or if everyone just listened to Dr Conley read her letter and independently decided she was right at that moment. If members of our school board are willing to sign tax payers up for a $5.7 million building and then just let it go without discussion, it calls into question their decision making in the first place.
If they got together beforehand and decided that they needed to postpone the building due to public pressure, we are sure many people are happy with that outcome, but it’s not legal per the Utah Open Meetings Act. Legally, policy discussions are required to be made in public, except in a few, special circumstances. Again, we are not accusing them of breaking the law because we don’t know what happened. To us, watching the video, it was just weird.
Regardless, the people on the Park City School Board owe the community a discussion. By running for public office they have signed up to represent people who live here. They owe those people an explanation for why they make decisions, especially on ones this controversial and large. It’s unfortunate that they obviously don’t think that matters.