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A-8 The Park Record Rounding out a wellness policy Recess allotment, nutrition among concerns for plan CAROLYN WEBBER The Park Record One after the other, parents stood up and took a seat, faced the Park City Board of Education and explained their concerns. The message was clear — while they supported the idea of an updated wellness policy, they thought it needed fine-tuning. Four parents spoke at the Board’s meeting on Jan. 16 to discuss worries related to wellness, such as recess time being cut from McPolin Elementary School and providing healthy food options at schools. The Board ultimately decided to hold off on adopting the policy and bumped the decision to the agenda for its meeting next month. Many parents, such as Stephanie Winzeler, were concerned about McPolin Elementary School’s decision to cut its second recess for third-, fourth- and fifth-graders. With the change, teachers could give students up to one afternoon recess a week if they were behaving in class. All other days, recess was replaced with 15-minute “brain breaks.” The decision was made to accommodate for extra class time needed for the dual-language immersion program, When Winzeler heard about the decision, she became concerned about the negative effects it might have on her kids at the school. Once she saw that the district’s wellness policy was being modified, she jumped on the opportunity to share her opinion. Ultimately, Winzeler wants to see the Board include something in the new policy requiring two recesses. “All the studies show how (recess) aides in their academic performance, how that aides in life, how that aides in social well-being and learning how to work with others,” she said. “I think it is a necessity for their well-being.” PARK RECORD FILE PHOTO Kennedy Cuttitta, 5, walks across an obstacle on the playground during McPolin Elementary’s after-shool program in 2016. As the Park City Board of Education rewrites its wellness policy, parents expressed a desire to add a requirement for two recesses for elementary-aged children. Andrew Caplan, president of the Board, said that the wellness plan is being updated in order to comply with state law. Nutrition guidelines about food available on school campuses during the school day were proposed in the draft of the wellness plan, and the section on physical activity was changed to address federal requirements for school wellness policies. Although the policy is now past a deadline for being passed by the Board, Caplan said that there were enough valid concerns from parents that the Board decided to delay adoption until next month. Usually, individual schools decide the time and length of lunch and recess, but if recess is taken away from some students, Caplan said that it may be time for the Board to establish clear, research-based guidelines. “I’m fairly confident that we can look at it and try to come to some kind of resolution where at least there are some standards set across the district,” he said. Caplan said that the next steps are to meet with representatives from nutrition and physical education, building administrators and Board members to edit the policy. Jenae Ridge, executive director of EATS Park City, hopes to meet with the Board to discuss her concerns about providing nutrition and physical activity for students. Ridge, who also spoke at the Board meeting, said that the updated policy was a step in the right direction, but she wants to see a more progressive policy that includes removing carbonated beverages from vending machines and requiring a 20-minute lunch before students are allowed to leave for recess. Like other community members concerned about student wellness, she would also love to see recess before lunch, since many students rush through their meal and waste food because they want to go outside to play. Grant Applications Are Currently Being Accepted for the Grant applications from certified tax-exempt, nonprofit organizations are now being accepted for the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation. The Foundation accepts grants for programs that emphasize literacy, reading and writing, languages, science and interdisciplinary areas. Applications ranging from $500 to $3,000 will be considered. Since 2008, the Foundation has awarded more than $450,000 to nonprofit groups including schools, libraries, community colleges and small local organizations. DEADLINES: Grant Application Deadline Thursday, February 15, 2018 Grant Awards Announcement Tuesday, May 1, 2018 ParkRecord.com To apply, please visit the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation website at: BessieMinorSwift.org But, Caplan said that it is important to leave some autonomy up to the schools in order to decide the timing of lunch and recess to best fit their school. Anne Peters, a member of the Board, said that she is glad that parents and community members are getting involved and helping the Board provide the best wellness policy it can. “We’re elected by them, we represent them,” she said. “We ultimately speak for them and for what they want, and I think when they come to the meeting and they really feel strongly about something, it’s in our best interest to listen.” Winzeler said that having the opportunity to speak and be heard indicates to her that district officials valued what she had to say and were willing to change. “It’s going to require a little bit of work,” Caplan said. “Everyone wants what is best for kids, so it takes everyone getting together and hashing it out.” Wed/Thurs/Fri, January 24-26, 2018 Continued from A-7 Session to rework policies is a proposed tax reform bill that addresses a variety of taxes, from corporate franchise to property. The bill suggests fixing the rate of the basic levy, which is the main property tax that funds public education. Currently, the tax rate fluctuates based off the value of one’s property, or assessed valuation, Hauber said. Two lawmakers are choosing to tackle how to allocate funds from the basic levy more equally across Utah schools. Sen. Lincoln Fillmore (R-South Jordan) wants to distribute more money to schools with high tax rates and low assessed valuation. “These are school districts that, even if they needed to raise additional revenue for public education in their communities, couldn’t do it because they are either at their caps for taxes or they tax their people so much that they are not going to be able to tax them anymore,” Hauber said. In that model, Park City’s extra revenue would go to the state to help other districts, Hauber said. The other equalization model, written by Rep. Bradley Last (R-Hurricane), offers a different plan. “It has some of the same elements as Sen. Fillmore’s, but he’s added onto that an extra piece of money that will flow to students who are at academic risk,” he said. Money in Last’s bill would be allocated for specific students who are under-performing in school. Neither of the bills have been given a number yet. Hauber predicts that Fillmore and Last’s bills will merge or be compromised into one single equalization bill. “We’ve talked about it a fair amount the last three sessions,” he said. “This one is looking like it has enough interest that it will happen this year.” There tends to be concerns about tax dollars generated in the local community leaving the local community, Hauber said. But although it is uncomfortable, some members of the district and the community are also aware that funding schools across the state is important. “There is an appropriate level of equalization,” he said. “Being a contributor district, though it is not our favorite situation, as long as it is governed properly and it is going to those districts that truly have a need, it makes sense.” Hauber said that teacher licensure is also sure to be a theme this year, since there have been small bills in the past that have dealt with the issue of retired teachers being able to come out of retirement to continue teaching while receiving some retirement benefits. Since Utah is still struggling from a teacher shortage, the state — and Park City — could benefit from a bill that “opens the door a little bit,” Hauber said. “We are interested in those because that is a ready pool of experienced employees and teachersA that we’d like to bring back in asc we watch that pool of teachingo s shrink on us,” he said. But before any of those bills are passed, Hauber said that there are four that must be addressed first (H.B. 10, H.B. 11, S. B. 11, S. B. 12). The bills deal with rewriting the public education code, the state law that governs the minimum level of education schools can provide. It will receive a new title and sections will be moved around, but Hauber said that members of the Legislature assured district leaders that it will remain similar. Hauber said that the bills will likely move quickly through the House and Senate since the new code will be used to write new bills during this legislative session. “We’re expecting that to get through the session early, and then we’ll watch the new pieces of legislation be written around that new numbering scheme,” he said. The four bills are intended to pass together and are not able to pass individually, according to the Utah State Legislature’s website. To follow the progression of bills through Utah’s legislative session, visit https://le.utah.gov/.