The Park City School District’s newly established master planning committee met for the 1st time last week. Committee members will meet regularly for the next eight months to identify the district’s educational direction. Based on suggestions from the community, a 15-person steering committee will bring options to an executive board who will then make final recommendations to the school board. Carolyn Murray has this:
Park City School District Business Administrator Todd Hauber sits on the Executive Committee. He describes the master planning process as layered.
“So, we look at the broader community as the base for where the values and the direction that education s going. And then we have our steering committee which will do some of the heavy lifting looking at the issues, looking at options, putting forward options that best fit the community. And, those ideas coming to an executive committee, and that’s where I’m more involved is at the executive committee, that takes the input from the community and from the steering committee and formulates that into a recommendation to the full board. At the end of the day, it’ll be the board’s master plan and they’ll need to be able to adopt that and move forward based on that community value.”
Hauber says the Steering Committee’s purpose is to take input from the community and work with the consultant, GSBS Architects, to identify how to best implement the community’s educational values and the district’s future learning needs. Although a former school board went through a master planning process just a few years ago, Hauber says this process is different --there are no preconceived notions or specific facility needs.
“Those were more building specific ideas as opposed to a master plan that’s looking at community values and discovering how best can education reach and obtain those values that the community expresses.”
Hauber says the committee plans to use several methods to solicit input from stakeholders.
“We encourage those steering committee members to go out within their own networks of friends and neighbors and talk about what the last meeting just covered and explore those ideas with them and bring those ideas back to the next meeting. We also have a couple of open houses where the community at large will be invited, give feedback on the thinking thus far and really flavor the conversations as they move forward. And then we also have a very important population and that’s our teachers. And so, we’ll have an education summit in which we are pulling in our teachers and getting their best thinking.”
GSBS Architects was hired in August at a cost of $257,000 dollars. They will guide the steering and executive committees until next spring when the master planning recommendations will be presented to the school board.
“So, their job is to bring together all of the experts that we’ll need to the process. Whether we’ll be doing additional demographic work, we’ll have facility assessment work to do. We have an educational planner on board. We’ll have a communications specialist on the team. And so, GSBS is responsible for pulling all of that team together and making that resource available to the steering committee and to the executive committee.”
Hauber says this master plan will not include a list of capital projects. If the school board decides facilities are needed, GSBS Architects isn’t eligible to bid on projects that emerge from the planning process. Hauber says they will also use data collected from past master planning initiatives.
“Again, we’re coming from a different perspective. We’re saying, what is the educational environment that we want to have for our students. So, we’re asking from the other direction. We’re saying from the end product, what can we backwards engineer, if you will, into that school setting? So, the question of class sizes will come up definitely. How do we want our students to be most successful as they come out of the education experience? Same things with whether a facility is still usable, not usable? Can this facility support the enviornment that we want to have in place?"
Student enrollment is projected to grow about one percent per year over the next ten years. Currently, some schools are using portable classrooms for student overflow and programs. Hauber says a facilities plan will be put together next May after the master plan is adopted. Community meetings to solicit input will be held in October and November – KPCW will broadcast those dates once they’re set.