The wrong side of history for Park City Schools?
You don’t see a bake sale run by a bunch of kids every day. More importantly, you don’t see a bake sale, run by a bunch of kids, where all donations will be sent to the Park City School district, to pay for a full time nurse. It naturally begs the question … if the school district can’t pay for a nurse at each school, what are they doing with all that money they collect from our taxes?
This topic ties into a number of issues that have been plaguing the school district. First there was the Parley’s Park nurse, Nicole Kennedy, whom parents seems to love … but the district is not renewing her contract for whatever reason. Then there is the issue of the district being found negligent in the handling of a student who has type 1 diabetes. Additionally there are stories that other students, who have had critical issues, were put in dangerous situations due to the lack of a school nurse on premises when an issue happened.
It’s frankly a mess and I’m not sure what is really going on with the nursing situation at our schools. It seems pretty straightforward. We as a community depend on nurses to keep our kids safe and it sounds like that isn’t happening.
What I do know is that when 10 kids get together and have a bake sale to donate money to Park City Schools so they can have a full time nurse, there is a problem. It’s not good. I’m not sure what the Park City School District is doing about it, but if they aren’t looking at every alternative, including rehiring school nurse Ms. Kennedy, I REALLY don’t get it.
It just seems that the Park City School district may be on the wrong side of history on this one.
Please listen to the School Board meeting held May 24, 2016. The beginning of the discussion regarding Student Services (Nurses, etc) is at 55:30 and continues to 1:07, 12 minutes.
What do other school districts in Utah do that have way fewer nurses than we currently have? Seems like it would be really hard for a kid with diabetes in a rural school district in Utah.
Here’s the thing. Utah is 50th of 50 on school funding in the United States. If you want to complain, complain about the lack of funds (and PCSD gets the same per pupil as every other district).
Thanks for the link, Julie. I will be honest and say that I did not follow the entire discussion as well as I would have liked. A big part of what I got out of that video is that we have a money issue (no surprise there), and the choice came down to food services or nursing staff. Is that correct? Then, it seemed like the board wants to make a change to the budget and put nurses/counselors ahead of food service in a new budget draft. Am I interpreting the meeting correctly?
Is there any way we can funnel PCEF, or some other foundation/charity money, into food services? If I am not mistaken, one of the major problems that we have in this district is appropriately allocating the amount of state money that we receive, while needing to maintain higher teacher, staff, etc. salaries because of the higher cost of living in our district. I think in order to maintain a high level of personnel, reasonable wages need to be paid, and we, as a highly affluent community of means, will need to make up budget shortcomings in the places that we can. Is that fair? Not really. Can we afford it? Yes. However, I will say that I question at what point it will end…
If you would like to discuss this issue please contact me. 801-706-7581,
The Board authorized a review of Student Services to be certain PCSD is in compliance with all state and federal requirements and to assess how our services are organized. This discussion is not over and food services is just another area we are trying to improve. While we do have to make budget priority decisions, nurses and counselors vs better food for students, in my opinion, isn’t an either/or question. That said we do want to get the results of the review and discuss the findings.
Julie, the portion of the video you advise people to view does not address nursing needs at the elementary school level, nor does it have anything to do with the kids who want their nurse back at Parley’s Elementary. The board and superintendent discussed two possible FTE positions in student services who may be hired for the Fall – a counselor and a nurse, both at Treasure Mountain Jr. High. The consequence to the decision to non-renew Nurse Kennedy’s contract remains. Kids are out asking for donations to get her back. Never mind that parents already fund the Park City Education Foundation which handed over $600k to the Park City School District last year. Parents are now supposed to fund nurses and reading specialists and ESL aides, and … whatever other positions have been eliminated or non-renewed for various reasons.
I remind you, also, that more counselors are needed at Ecker Hill Middle School, given that it is currently understaffed according to the couselor:student ratio recommended by state and federal guidelines.
Erma, we should have on staff the trained nurses necessary to handle our student population, no matter what they do in other areas.
When we have good people on staff, whether they are teachers, nurses, principals, reading specialists, English as Second Language aides, we ought not treat them as dispensable and have them work in fear of losing their jobs. We have an ‘opportunity’ to do the right thing, which is to staff to the needs of our students and not to the needs and desires of our administration.
If anyone would like accurate information, please watch the posted section of the video and contact me directly to discuss.
Full Time Nurses are an absolute necessity. Every day I drop off our 5 year old to school, I literally hand his life over to a caretaker. That caretaker should be a trained professional. My son travels to school with insulin, needles, an insulin pump, an insulin pen for when the pump fails, a glucose monitor, a timer since he has to wait between 0-45 minutes between an insulin injection and eating a carb, a carb-counting book, glucose tablets and juice boxes for when his blood sugar drops low. His blood glucose needs to be checked hourly.
Before we had a Type 1 Diabetic in our family, we knew virtually nothing about diabetes or the daily impact associated with being a Type 1 Diabetic. We had no idea our lives were instantly changed forever. Type 1 Diabetes can be extremely complicated to a casual bystander. Type 1 Diabetes can be deadly if not properly managed and constantly monitored – sometimes as often as every hour.
The nurse issue in the school currently being discussed is much much bigger than just serving diabetic students. The nurses are needed for their professional interpretation and knowledge regarding a much wider medical background than a non-certified person could possibly expect to be fluent in. It would be grossly unfair for anyone else in the school, someone from the front office or a teacher for example, to be expected to provide daily and constant life saving medical support to Type 1 Diabetics and students with other serious medical issues/needs/conditions.
Currently 11% of the population is diabetic. By 2040, those numbers are projected to be at 33%. One in three children born today will have Type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune disease) or Type 2 diabetes (hereditary or lifestyle) in their lifetime.
At the end of the day, each school with a Type 1 Diabetic or with any student who has another medical issues requiring constant monitoring needs to have certified skilled nurse on site to provide immediate assistance.
This isn’t about what the rest of Utah does. This is about Park City and what we should do for our students. Why would we compare ourselves and our services to the rest of Utah – the school district ranking last in dollars per pupil? Let’s compare ourselves to the top school districts in the country – or better yet, set a new standard.
Trevor, PC receives the same per-pupil funding as all other districts in UT. Just FYI.
I agree that full time nurses are a necessity, though.
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