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Park City Board of Education to review equity policy

Ben Lasseter
Tuesday's meeting is being held at the district office on Kearns Blvd.

The Park City Board of Education could approve a new policy that has stirred community debate at its upcoming meeting Tuesday.

The proposed policy, titled “Educational Equity,” seeks to go beyond formal equality.

It states that its purpose is to “foster a barrier-free environment where all students, staff and stakeholders benefit equally.”

Park City School District Superintendent Jill Gildea said the policy codifies what the board has been doing for years.

“We’re looking at it through an academic achievement lens and trying to close gaps in access and opportunity for kids,” Gildea said. “But I think the definition could be — reducing the predictive power of demographics and zip codes to determine the success of young people inside and outside the classroom.”

Examples of the policy in action include helping lower income students cover academic fees, or having audio enhancement in classrooms for those who are hearing impaired.

Work on the policy began in 2017, and it has been tweaked and reviewed by numerous district committees in the years since.

More than 100 people attended a public comment forum earlier this month. While the majority were in support, some said the new rules would create more discrimination, and that the school district was stepping out of its lane.

The school board has the option to approve the new policy Tuesday. It could also just discuss the measure and push action to a later meeting.

Additionally, the board will recognize school district retirees Tuesday, and receive an update from district COO Mike Tanner, who manages the various school construction projects.

The meeting starts with a closed session at 3 p.m., and public comment is scheduled for 5 p.m.

The in-person meeting is being held at the district office on Kearns Boulevard.

PCSD Communication will stream the meeting live on YouTube.