School Board Clarifies Bond Rumors And Announces New Protocol For Communications

Oct 2, 2018

Credit PCSD

The Park City Board of Education met Tuesday  morning in a work session. The School Board’s goals were discussed which included a new policy on how the board will communicate with the media. Job survey results were presented and Board President, Andrew Caplan read a statement about their plans to bond for capital projects next year.  Carolyn Murray has this:

Park City School Board President Andrew Caplan read a statement about the potential to run a capital bond in 2019. A bond discussion was not on the agenda, but he said they wanted to respond to rumors they had heard in the community.

“Right now, the school district, like all municipal entities is likely to seek public funds in the future. We have no specific plans to bond at this time.”

Master Planning is one of the school boards goals this year and Caplan explains that process will help define the district’s future capital needs.

“The district has just started it’s master planning process as we just discussed in this meeting to determine the education specifications for our schools for the next 10 years. This process is focused on the future of learning. The public portion of master planning will kick off on October 29th  with an open house with master plan recommendations submitted to the board of education by May 2019. The district welcomes all community input on the master planning process. We will be transparent throughout the entire process this year and next. If you have any questions, anyone watching this, if you have any questions after this is released, please direct them to our Director of Communications, Melinda Colton and we will do our best to respond quickly. Hopefully, that clarifies some of the rumors and news that is out there.”

A jobs survey was done to help the School Board understand the makeup of classified employee positions in the district. The survey findings on salaries, benefits, job descriptions and access to affordable housing were part of the discussion. Associate Superintendent of Human Resources, Tim McConnell said decisions made last year to increase part time positions have been popular among employees.

“If you were to talk to other school district HR people about the positions, we’re all in the same boat with custodians, bus drivers, part time instructional positions. Those are the ones that are hard to fill. Then, also based on the conversations that we’ve had with the classified representatives, what they said is, what the board did to bring in more classified people that are 30 hours and over and the ability to obtain insurance, was huge. I mean, I heard it yesterday. We’re so grateful the board made that decision.”

All classified employees received an eight-page survey seeking input about their jobs. The feedback was incorporated into the creation of new classified job descriptions.   Board Member Petra Butler was concerned that the length of the survey may have discouraged some employees from filling it out. Business Administrator Todd Hauber said the survey was statistically valid.

“There are many, many reasons why people don’t necessarily participate. If I saw an eight-page survey, I’m not really sure if I would respond to be honest with you. That’s a voluminous survey. I think it’s counter productive to what we’re trying to do here if we only provide information to people that actually respond to the survey. Can you imagine in a corporate structure if you only respond to the people who dealt with your survey, but it affects everybody in the entire culture, it would be very, very problematic and I think it might affect morale. It might affect multiple issues.”

“If you’re getting a response rate higher than 20%, you’re getting some good data. We have a response rate that’s well over 50%.”

Board Member Erin Grady presented the Board’s Goals and Objectives which included a change in board protocol for talking to the media.

“We just went through our goals and objectives. Establishing trust and confidence and transparency in the community. Things that we have talked about following objectives set out by the Communications Director and referring media calls back to Melinda. We’re happy to speak to anybody but I think it’s just having that kind of clear and concise message moving forward.”

The School Board meets again on Tuesday, October 16th with the open session beginning at 4 PM.