Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says the county can strengthen its supportive role in education by first investing in early intervention and afterschool programs. McAdams was speaking at the county’s first annual Education Summit at the Granite School District headquarters.
McAdams is looking for ways to double the number of after school programs in the county.
But first he wants to partner with Granite School District to help expand pre-school programs. Goldman Sachs recently gave the district a multi-million dollar loan to increase enrollment. McAdams says if the county council approves the partnership; it would help Granite School District pay back the loan with the money the county saves by keeping kids in school and out of trouble.
“We provide youth services programs so we’re financially interested in kids being successful in schools," McAdams says. "We’re not a preschool provider. So what we’re looking at is finding best practices. We see something happening in the Granite school district that studies have found to be successful.
He says Granite’s program mirrors studies that show a high-quality preschool program, taught by qualified educators, with a low student-teacher ratio, is a reliable predictor of future educational success.
McAdams also named the county’s first Education Liaison, Dr. Roderic Land, who will remain Associate Director of the county’s Human Services Department. Dr. Land says his job is to build partnerships.
“As the mayor has mentioned he wants to be a fiscal conservative so he’s not talking about spending more money per se," Land says. "But it is an issue of how do we leverage the resources that we currently have in the community and the different organizations.”
Representatives from local school districts attended the summit, along with state education officials and representatives from Utah colleges and universities.