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Why I voted for the Park City School Bond

There are no good or bad ideas. There is only execution.

So, I voted for the $79.2 million Park City School Bond. I wanted to give them the chance to execute.

I fought the 2015 school bond tooth and nail. The process they used was manipulative. After attending almost every meeting, I wasn’t convinced that it wasn’t corrupt. It was a total and unmitigated disaster.

I don’t get that feeling from this bond.

I do have the nagging feeling that this will be a little bit of the dog that chased the car and finally caught it. I explained the changes that will be coming to Jeremy Ranch Elementary to my oldest son and he asked how long until they are done. I said about two years. He said, “Good, I won’t go to school there anymore.”

No matter how you feel about it, the bond is going to pass. That has to feel good for the school district and school board.

However, the real challenges are ahead.

We have to expand the high school. We have to move 9th graders to the high school. We have to expand Ecker (not part of this bond but will be paid through taxes and bake sales). We have to expand Jeremy and McPolin elementary schools. We have to expand Trailside and Parley’s elementary schools (not part of this bond but will be paid through taxes and bake sales).

Can the school district execute that? Can they do it within budget? Can they do it on time?

Most importantly, can they increase the educational value to our students? They need to ensure that $129 million actually translates to helping our underserved and/or ELL students in getting a better education. Likewise, the rest of our students should have improved outcomes, as well.

$129 million+ is a lot of money on buildings if there isn’t an educational advantage. I look forward to understanding how the school district is planning on quantifying improvements in education.

I believe the Park City School Board and School District will look at tomorrow’s victory as a success. I look at it as a challenge.

I voted for this because I wanted to give our district a chance.

Now they need to return the faith.



Nancy Garrison, tax payer

Wow Josh.
To be clear you are supporting a bond that is 47% higher than the defeated initiative, while it only funds slightly more than 1/2 of the total project costs. Sure hope the rest can be raised and we aren’t facing facilities that are 47% complete!!


Hi Nancy-

You bring up good points. However, I don’t think we will end up with facilities that are 47% complete. This effort is segmented in such a way that I don’t think we will end up with buildings half-built. However, I could see the district adding on to the high school with bond funds and not having enough money to do what they say they are going to do at Jeremy and McPolin.I could see people getting frustrated with the level of taxes in the County and pushing back against the district’s financing methods. That could very well leave Ecker Hill a disaster. We would hear about the need for trailers, etc.

You may ask, “Josh, if you are pessimistic about this, why did you vote yes?”

Treasure Mountain is both the albatross and the golden goose of the school district. It is both the thing most people care about “fixing” and the things the school district uses to try and get people to vote for a bond. So I say, give it to the district. I’d rather them focus on why Park City High School is behind Sky Line and Davis High Schools in US News rankings. I’d rather them focus on ELL learners and the problems I see in our elementary schools helping these kids. I’d like to focus on substitutes and get that issue right. Maybe they also will have enough bond money to offer preschool in JRES and McPolin. If so, hopefully, that helps our most needful children.

If the bond passes, the district will have everything they want. Now the School Board and administration have to prove they can execute. We’ll have to see if they can. I hope they do, but either way, there are no longer any excuses. It’s on them.

As for raising the extra money for the other $40 million through bake sales and fundraising, we will see. What will the public’s appetite be for that? Will that concept work? If it leads to higher taxes, will the public support it? But again, that’s their pitch. The district owns whatever it is and whatever happens.

Once the bond goes through, it’s up to Dr. Gildea and her team to make this happen effectively. It’s up to the school board to provide oversight.

It’s the moment of truth for the school district. If they accomplish this effectively, on budget, and on time they deserve the respect they will receive. If they don’t, they will set the school district back for the next two decades. Moment of truth.

I’ll be following it closely, as I am sure many others will, too.

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