Whoever truly first uttered the words, often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, that “nothing is certain, except death and taxes”, they can be forgiven for omitting the ethically-challenged intransigence of the Park City School Board. This past week we discovered the Board had, predictably, voted to renew the contract of the Superintendent (unanimously, of course). The public – for whom the Board appears to have forgotten they work – will never know what deliberations and discussions went into that decision because, as always, it all happened in the secretive backroom shadows where the Board operates. Transparency be damned.
Did the Board consider the criminal charges leveled against the District because of institutional failure to report multiple counts of sexual abuse and rape of children, on the Superintendent’s watch? Did they consider the rejection of health mandates during a pandemic that put children, staff, and the wider community at risk? Did they consider the low morale of many teachers, the ongoing hemorrhaging of experienced educators from the District, and associated concerns about class sizes? Did they consider the bloated and highly-paid “cabinet” the Superintendent has surrounded herself with while being unable to properly compensate teachers and other staff? Did they consider the repeated inability to come close to balancing the District’s budget? (What was that about taxes being certain again?)
According to the Board President, they considered it all. This is, evidently, exactly how the Board wants the District to be run. Indeed, the Board President confirmed in a statement they are “thrilled” with the Superintendent’s performance. So thrilled they’re giving her a nice raise too. A word on that – can we please stop with the facile nonsense that her inflated compensation package is necessary because of the high cost of living in Park City? The comparatively high cost of living here is due to housing costs, and she’s provided with a house, and car, separate from her already swollen financial compensation.
Count me among those who find this all somewhat troubling. Fortunately, while this School Board is clearly not going to change itself, through the electoral process this November we can at least change 40% of it.