Community Relations Is Priority For Park City School Board

Sep 14, 2018

The Park City Board of Education met Wednesday morning in the first of two team building meetings that are happening this week. The retreat will set the course for the current school year. With the new superintendent on board, it’s the first formal team building opportunity for the School District’s Executive Board. Carolyn Murray has this:

The Board hired Maryann Billington from Action Leadership Group, a Salt Lake City firm that specializes in strategy consulting and professional development. A prior survey, taken by the Executive Board, which includes the five members of the school board, Superintendent Jill Gildea and Business Administrator Todd Hauber, showed that the board shared common goals.

As Billington said, a professional board won’t be successful unless they have clear and uniform priorities.

But what we’re saying right now is, hey, we are really pretty much in agreement around these. These are urgent issues. They might need action on our part. They might need collaboration with Jill (Gildea) to determine what the administrative action is on it. These are the ones that are going to drive us. These are going to be the headlines for us."

Community Relations, Master Planning, Organizational Structure and Governance were four of the top priorities the Executive Board identified in the survey.

Billington challenged the board to define what they want Community Relations to look like.

“Boards used to do very much the opposite including across corporate boards. The idea was not to say much. And so, the question is now, what’s our responsibility, how has it changed and how do we build a communication plan that allows us to do that effectively. Let me ask you about this..so there’s a proactive and a reactive way you can handle interactions with the public. What does that look like to you as groups or individuals. Is it we will be prepared when the community comes to us or is it a lean out into the community?”

Board Member Anne Peters said good things happening in the school district aren’t always publicized. She said she feels slammed with people focusing on the controversy of the week. She thinks more communication, getting ahead of the issues and explaining themselves as much as possible is the right strategy.

Both Peters and Board President Andrew Caplan said the School District, not the School Board, should oversee the communication strategy with the public. Billington recaps:

So, if what I am hearing there is you are proposing there as the focus is to develop a communication plan at the administrative level that includes the board communication, the activities and behaviors…okay?”

“Correct”

Board members said the District Organizational Structure is best managed by the superintendent, not the school board. Superintendent Gildea said all boards struggle with the individuals thinking independently but operating as a team.

The board taking seriously its own board development, which is what this board is doing….is really important work and it’s really important to build up the governance team because keeping that big picture perspective is to be in a governance role. And so, I think all of this work that you’re facilitating does this for us. So, thank you.”

Another top priority is the master planning efforts underway in the district. The Board hired two Master Planning Consulting firms and they’ve created a stakeholder committee to drive the process. GSBS Architects will guide the committee to develop a district wide plan by spring of 2019. The School Board will act on their recommendations.

The School Board meets again on September 18th in a regular session at 4 PM at the District Business Office on Kearns Boulevard.