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Park City Education Foundation Brings Art To Elementary Schools

In their monthly update, the Park City Education Foundation has details about the Elementary Visual Arts partnership, known as EVA, to bring arts education to the youngest learners in the district.
According to Executive Director of the Park City Education Foundation, Abby McNulty, the Utah legislature cut funding for elementary art programs a long time ago. For many years, parents volunteered in the classroom to bring art programs to elementary students in some of the schools.  For the past seven years, the Park City Education Foundation has partnered with the Kimball Arts Center to build the program, so arts education is available at least once a month in all of Park City’s elementary schools. Jeremy Ranch Elementary School continues to provide art education through parent volunteers. McPolin, Trailside and Parley’s Park Elementary schools each have an arts specialist.

“It’s a little different at each school. At Parley’s it’s once a week. At McPolin it’s twice a month and at Trailside, it’s once a month. And the art lessons are created by the Kimball Arts Center. For example, this month’s lesson is Joan Miro. And they learn a little bit about the history of the artist, the context of which they were an artist. And the kids create their own artwork.”

Go to KPCW to see a slide show of the art-work from Park City’s Elementary Visual Arts program.
Each fall, the Ed Foundation asks parents to contribute to the $1.5 million they need to fund student programs offered in the school district. They ask parents to contribute $180.00 for the year which is a dollar a day for each student.

“Utah is the lowest funded education system in the country. We frequently hear about that. And secondly income tax is what is designated to support education in our state. And the majority  of income tax collected here is redistributed to fund other districts around the state.”

McNulty says parents in Park City have high expectations and the children have diverse needs.

“We’re largely 100% locally funded. So, if you want your child to be able to have additional programs in their classroom beyond the basic. And if we’re looking at basic here in our state. It doesn’t include, for example elementary art, nor does it include science, full day kindergarten, preschool. I mean some of the things we consider to be basic offerings of education, we ask the community to step up to provide additional resources.”

During registration, they ask parents to give money to support the foundation’s many programs. The Beat the Call Campaign starts September 23. She says 70 % of Park City Parents contribute some amount.

“If you haven’t made a contribution yet to support students and it’s really what you are able to afford, then we call you. We have a team of students that make phone calls.”

A legislative task force has met throughout this past year to address tax reform. One option they’re considering is a to amend the state constitution and eliminate the requirement that income tax revenues go toward public education funding. McNulty says the Education Foundation is watching this closely but does not have an official position on the issue at this point.  

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