Board Meeting Summary | Aug. 14, 2018

Public Comment on Tax Increase

Five community members addressed the Board of Education at the district’s Truth-in-Taxation hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 14.

–Mark Parker, representing PCEA, said by increasing teacher salaries during the last negotiations, the Board moved closer to the district’s goal to attract and retain the highest quality teachers in Utah and across the nation. The association supports the board’s decision to increase taxes, and create a sustainable budget for the next five to 10 years. PCEA also expressed concern that new teachers can’t afford to live in Park City and worry about the distances teachers have to travel to teach in the district. He thanked the board and the community for their support of teachers and support staff.

–Jim Tedford supports a quality education for students, but he questioned the need for three new secondary assistant principals and the new deputy superintendent position. He asked the board to spend tax dollars wisely.

–Steve Swanson provided the board with the district’s financial and staffing comparisons from the past eight years. He is concerned student growth has been relatively flat while the addition of new employees has significantly increased. He asked the board to be more disciplined in their expenditures and ask if the spending is responsible and sustainable.

–Steve Joyce said he reviewed the budget and was concerned that FTE—the count of full-time employees—has increased by 16 percent in the last few years while student enrollment has grown by less than two percent. As a member of the City Council, he said he is asking the same questions of the city.

–Kathy Apostolakos said she has watched the district for a long time, both as a parent and as a school volunteer. She said if the district office is so large it has outgrown its building and has to add a portable, then it has grown too much. She said it is hard to see how adding additional personnel ultimately supports students.

Board Comments

–President Andrew Caplan said the board looks at the budget on a multi-year basis (five to seven years down the road) and has developed long-term plans on the capital side such as future land purchases. President Caplan said the board’s role is to represent the interests of its constituents. He reminded those in attendance that expectations for services in the school district have significantly changed in the past 10 years. Educators and staff are dealing with societal issues that did not exist a decade ago. He said the community has asked for increased services for those who are teaching and working with students every day — interventionists, aides, mental health professionals, social workers, and counselors.

–Petra Butler reiterated the district’s need to show the impact these new positions have on students.

Tax Rates Approved

The board approved the proposed tax increase.

Policies Approved

The board approved these policies:

Policy 7070—Leave for Maternity and Paternity: The board added an amendment stating new employees will have a one-year waiting period based on their one-year work cycle, pending legal review.

Policy 7165—Education Evaluation Program

Policy 11103—Visitor Access (new policy): The board amended this policy to delete language about specific procedures related to school events held during the day. Superintendent Jill Gildea will work with principals to determine the most secure and efficient way to handle visitor check-in during daytime school activities that parents attend.

Safety Update

Superintendent Gildea provided the board with an update on safety projects underway throughout the district. The fencing and vestibules at all elementary schools will be complete by the first day of school. Bids for vestibules and classroom wiring and door locks at secondary schools are due Aug. 21.

Letter from the Board: Education is the Strength of Our Community

By Park City School District Board of Education

From left, Erin Grady, Andrew Caplan, Anne Peters, Petra Butler, and JJ Ehlers.

The mission of Park City School District is to inspire and support all students equitably to achieve their academic and social potential. As a Board of Education, we have been elected to represent the interests of our collective community — we have heard and appreciate the community’s desire to create an educational culture that is focused on the whole child. We make decisions based on keeping our students safe, supported, engaged, challenged, and healthy.

With the new school year beginning in less than two weeks, we are thrilled that all teacher positions are filled. The biggest benefit we offer new teachers is a competitive salary, the highest in the state. At the same time, we increased compensation for returning teachers, support staff, and administrators to encourage them to stay long-term.

Our strength is in our people. We are fortunate to have outstanding staff who genuinely care about students and aspire every school year to help students achieve their potential. Employee compensation and benefits comprise nearly 80 percent of our expenditures. The gap between higher expenditures and neutral revenues is growing. Because local property taxes make up more than 90 percent of our income we knew we recognized we needed to increase taxes.

The last time we raised taxes was 2014. We firmly believe that access to a quality education is a foundation to the strength of our community, and we know our community wants to invest in education.

Our FY19 budget reflects several critical needs. Besides hiring and retaining excellent personnel, safety and security is also a priority for us. We have added interventionist at each elementary school to work with struggling students. And we have hired an additional assistant principal at Ecker Hill Middle, Treasure Mountain Junior High, and Park City High.

This year, approximately $5 million in property taxes will be sent in equalization funding to the state to be distributed to revenue strapped districts such as Alpine, Davis, Nebo, and Jordan. We are the only district in Utah that collects more money than we are authorized to receive. Last year, we sent $3 million back to the state for equalization. Recent legislation now requires that we send an additional $2 million back to the state.

In an effort to provide an equitable education for all our students, the district will now cover the cost of academic student fees. That’s nearly $700,000 in fees, which parents have paid for in past years.

Some community members have expressed concern about the compensation package for our new superintendent. We are incredible fortunate to have hired an experienced, student-centered and future-focused leader. The proposed tax increase does not include her salary or housing benefits. That is already covered under our existing budget.

We realize tax increases are never easy. We have been judicious in approving this budget and have spent many months reviewing data that supports the goals of our Strategic Plan.

Our Truth-in-Taxation hearing is set for Tuesday, Aug. 14, at 6 p.m. at the District Office, and is your chance to voice your opinion before the tax increase is finalized.

Thank you for your continued support of education. We are all partners in ensuring our children achieve their highest academic and social potential.

PCSD BOARD OF EDUCATION

Andrew Caplan, President

JJ Ehlers, Vice President

Petra Butler, Member

Erin Grady, Member

Anne Peters, Member

PCSD to Hire Deputy Superintendent to Focus on Operational Services

Park City School District announced today it will hire a Deputy Superintendent to lead the day-to-day operational side of the district. The position will be responsible for master facility planning, safety and security coordination, transportation, child nutrition, and school operations.

This new administrator will partner with incoming Superintendent Jill Gildea and other executive leadership to develop and implement the Board of Education’s strategic plan, district policies, instructional programs, and school services provided by the district.

In light of the multi-million dollars the board is invested in safety and security, the Deputy Superintendent will oversee the daily operations of safety measures throughout the district. He/she will oversee safety training of all employees, collaborate with safety and emergency officials in the city and county, chair the district safety committee, stay informed on best practices, and ensure safety drills are conducted on a regular basis at the district and school levels.

“As we rebuild the administration, Dr. Gildea and the board agree on the need for a Deputy Superintendent to assist in the day-to day running of the district,” said Board President Andrew Caplan. “Dr. Gildea will spend the majority of her time on improving instruction and working with our principals.

“We are looking for someone with expertise in safety and managing the physical plant. We also need someone to oversee operations of the district in order to achieve our community’s vision and mission of highly effective schools focused on student and staff well-being, safety and security, and overall progress in meeting the community’s expectations for its facilities.”

The Deputy Superintendent will guide the master facility planning process and lead efforts to successfully fund facility projects and programs. He/she will also supervise schedules and calendars of timely work projects and processes.

The posting can be viewed here.  The deadline for applications is Aug. 31.

Board Meeting Summary

July 3, 2018 | Special Regular Session

Budget Hearing

Following public comment, the board unanimously ratified the FY18 revised budget and the FY19 preliminary budget, and approved the 2018 property tax rates. The FY19 preliminary budget can be viewed here

Public Comment

Beverly Harrison, a retired speech pathologist and special education teacher, expressed concern about the board providing housing for the new superintendent.

Board President Andrew Caplan said mountain resort communities and other affluent cities around the country purchase a home for their superintendents. Legally, the Board cannot require the superintendent to live in Park City but it can offer housing within the district. Caplan also said the community has told the board it wants the superintendent to live in Park City and be part of the community.

Consent Agenda

The board approved the consent agenda items, including new hires. Board member Petra Butler said her review showed several part-time classified positions listed. She told the board it would be beneficial to offer full-time positions with a benefits package. Caplan said the board can instruct the Administration to research what other districts are doing. Butler said the district currently has about a 10 percent turnover rate, and she would like to see the district do all it can to retain employees and let them know they are valued. 

Truth-in-Taxation Hearing

The board’s next meeting is Aug. 14 — a  Truth-in-Taxation Hearing at 6 p.m. at the District Office.

PCSD Hires Additional Secondary Assistant Principals

Park City School District Interim Superintendent David Gomez has announced the addition of four new secondary assistant principals for the 2018-19 school year.

By adding an additional assistant principal at each secondary school, Superintendent Gomez said it will bring the ratio of administrators to students more in line with the Utah ratio. Principals have also said they need additional administrators in their buildings to help with licensed evaluations, assist with UHSAA and club sports, school clubs, student supervision, safety, student wellness, discipline, evening and weekend activities, increase in 504s, and parent communication.

–Jamie Weekes, currently an assistant principal at Ecker Hill Middle, appointed assistant principal at Park City High

–Melissa Tschabrun, currently an instructional coach at Treasure Mountain Junior High, appointed assistant principal at TMJH

–Claustina Mahon-Reynolds, currently Educational Equity Supervisor for Salt Lake City School District, appointed assistant principal at Ecker Hill Middle

–Tracy Fike, currently Interim Principal at Parley’s Park Elementary, appointed assistant principal at Ecker Hill Middle (one-year appointment)

Jamie Weekes

Jamie Weekes

Weekes has been teaching for the past 15 years at middle school, high school, and summer school levels. She has worked as a math interventionist for eight years in both middle school and high school. Weekes has taught at Park City High for six years.

Melissa Tschabrun

Melissa Tschabrun

Tschabrun started her career in education 14 years ago in Vermont where she was a math teacher, alpine ski coach, and soccer coach. She has taught middle school math at a charter school, and taught high school math and served as the department chair at a private school in Salt Lake City. She came to PCSD two years ago as a math teacher at TMJH. She spent half her time this past school year as an instructional coach at the school.

Claustina Mahon-Reynolds

Claustina Mahon-Reynolds

Originally from Westchester County, New York, Mahon-Reynolds is starting her 19th year in education. Her educational experience includes teaching (K-12), coaching (K-6), middle school administrator, higher education instructor, and staff developer. She is currently completing her doctoral studies at the University of Utah in the Educational Leadership and Policy Department. She has lived in Utah for 13 years.

Tracy Fike

Tracy Fike

Fike has been the Instructional Technology Coach at Parley’s since 2016 and has been an administrative intern at Parley’s Park, Ecker Hill Middle, and Park City High. From 2013-16 she was a reading intervention teacher at Ecker Hill Middle.

Board Meeting Summary

June 21, 2018 | Special Regular Session

Budget Hearing

The board approved the FY18 Revised Budget and the FY19 Preliminary Budget by a vote of 4-1. Board member Petra Butler dissented. The board unanimously approved the preliminary property tax rates.

Ecker Tunnel 

Derrick Radke, Public Works Director for Summit County, reviewed the Park-and-Ride lot under construction on Kilby Road. The board granted easements for a tunnel that will connect the school to the Park-and-Ride. The county assured the board it will install high-resolution cameras in the lot for heightened security and will provide a camera feed from the tunnel to the school. Radke said the Summit County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to patrol the area on a regular basis and will assist with increased traffic the first few days of the school year. Board member Petra Butler asked if the county was concerned about the additional traffic on Kilby Road. Radke said road improvements will help with the anticipated capacity. He said many Park-and-Ride users will not increase traffic during school hours. Radke anticipates the tunnel will complete before the 2018-19 school year starts.

Board Selects SR 248 Tunnel Design Option

The Board selected Option 1A for  Park City’s proposed pedestrian and bike tunnel planned under SR 248. The proposed tunnel is in front of Park City High and LDS Seminary. It will replace the existing signalized crosswalk. The tunnel will provide for a higher level of safety and connectivity for students as well as the community at-large, and will improve the overall delay and vehicle congestion on Kearns Boulevard.

Policies for Posting

– Policy 7070: Maternity and Paternity Leave

– Policy 7165: Educator Evaluation

– Policy 11103: Visitor Access

Policies Approved

– Policy 7085: Employing Licensed Staff

– Policy 7110: Resignations

Recent PCHS Graduate Awarded $10,000 Scholarship

Mellissa Mellin, a 2018 Park City High graduate, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship at the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Luncheon held at the Capitol Rotunda today, June 20.

Mellin was one of 34 students recognized for her academic achievements, demonstrated leadership, and commitment to community service. She has been accepted to Westminster College where she plans t0 study political science.

Scholarships were awarded by the Comcast Foundation and ranged from $1,000 to $10,000. Mellin was the only student to receive the $10,000 award. This year she served as co-president of Latinos in Action at PCHS. Her two sisters attended the luncheon with her as well as PCHS Interim Principal Kathleen Einhorn.

The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program is a nomination-based award, and one student per school is nominated by their principal or guidance counselor.

Board Meeting Summary

June 19, 2018 | Regular Session

Consent Items

There was not a quorum of board members present at the meeting so  consent items could not be approved. The board is holding a Special Regular Session on Thursday, June 22, at 6 p.m. to approve consent items, review policies for posting and approval, and vote on the FY18 Revised Budget and the FY19 Preliminary Budget.

Student Report

School board student representative Steven Mitchell said he plans to poll students this fall on topics the board is discussing so he can accurately reflect student opinions.

Communications Report

Communications Director Melinda Colton reported PCSD Chat will be used this summer to keep Summer School parents updated. She said traffic on the district’s social media channels continues to increase and she is posting frequently throughout the summer months. Facebook followers increased by 37 percent last month and page views increased by 49 percent. Colton is participating in a virtual Social Media Camp next week to stay current in the latest education trends around using social media as a key communications tool.

Superintendent Report

Interim Superintendent David Gomez thanked Colton for providing clear communications on some of the sensitive issues that recently occurred. He reported that he talks with incoming Superintendent Jill Gildea weekly and should know her timeline for arriving in Park City in the coming weeks. Superintendent Gomez also reported the district had a large pool of candidates for the new secondary assistant principal positions, which included a 50/50 mix of internal and external candidates.

Proposed SR 248 Tunnel

Julia Collins, Senior Transportation Planner for Park City, and Rob Sunderlage, an associate with Horrocks Engineers, reviewed three design options for a proposed pedestrian and bike tunnel planned under SR 248. The proposed tunnel will be in front of Park City High and LDS Seminary. It will replace the existing signalized crosswalk. Collins said the tunnel will provide for a higher level of safety and connectivity for students as well as the community at-large, and will improve the overall delay and vehicle congestion on Kearns Boulevard. She aid the city has conducted a SR2 48 corridor improvement study, gathered community input, collaborated with UDOT, the LDS Seminary, and area residents, completed traffic analysis, and continues ongoing discussions with the school district.

Board Vice President JJ Ehlers said she will poll the board this week to determine their preferred option. Ehlers also asked the city to look into the feasibility of adding electric charging stations during the construction process of the tunnel.

City officials will meet with the board again in August to request easements and review the memo of understanding. Park City plans to finalize the design this summer, with construction commencing in Spring 2019.

Public Comment

–Micaela Carriel, a social studies teacher at Park City High and the women’s soccer coach, expressed appreciation to the board for adding 30 paid days to its maternity leave. She said it makes her feel valued as an educator. She asked the board to review the wording so teachers who are expecting during Summer or Winter Recess can take their maternity leave from their contracted days.

–Melissa Perry, a math teacher at Park City High, thanked the board for its consideration of offering 30 paid days to the district’s maternity leave for mothers and fathers. She said it will help reduce the financial burden on teachers.

Budget Hearing

The board will meet Thursday, June 21, to vote on the FY18 Revised Budget, and the FY19 Preliminary Budget.

Budget Hearing Public Comment  

Jim Tedford, a retired teacher and community member, said given the city and county tax increases, he has concerns about the budget and proposed tax increase from the school district. He questioned why the board is hiring three more assistant principals at its secondary schools. He also expressed concern about the salary and benefits the board is paying the new Superintendent.

Board Meeting Summary

June 5, 2018 | Special Regular Session

FY19 Budget Discussion

The board continued its discussion of the FY19 budget, including the addition of two special education teachers for elementary schools, one additional transition teacher for post high schools students with mild/moderate disabilities, the cost of the classified job study recommendations, and the elimination of some student fees.

Two Additional Special Education Teachers: Interim Principal David Gomez shared data that illustrates significant gains academically when there are additional specialized personnel helping special education students. Special education teachers also require additional time for professional development for better alignment with general ed teachers and interventionists. The teachers current caseloads do not allow them to provide the kind of one-on-one instruction they would like to give to their students. Additionally, a new law requires more accountability from school districts to show that special education students are making progress.

One Additional Transition Teacher: The board agreed to not fund the transition teacher position for post high school in this budget but will use the coming year to find out the needs of students and parents for such a program.

Classified Job Study: Business Administrator Todd Hauber said 29 employees are impacted by the district’s recent review and salary study of classified positions.

Elimination of Academic Student Fees: The board affirms that a public education should be free to the patrons of the school district and that barriers to public education should be removed wherever possible. In that effort, the school board has waived the fee requirements for mandatory and academic fees for the 2018-19 school year. Hauber presented the board with a list of discontinued academic students fees in the amount of $691,900.  The board’s action is not a categorical waiver of all fees. Fees subject to this action include fees for elective courses and general education expenses. This action does not extend, at this time, to extracurricular fees and other fees for activities conducted outside the normal hours of the school day. In all cases, remaining school fees are subject to State law and district waiver policy. Hauber recommended the rental of musical instruments remain with the families this coming school year while the district spends the year learning more about how best to manage instruments at its secondary schools.

Board Compensation

Board member Petra Butler recommended increase the board’s compensation by $7,000. She said the board does a tremendous amount of work and said the additional compensation will attract more people to run for the board. Board President Andrew Caplan said a study was completed a few years ago on board compensation. The board will review the study.

Safety Update

Interim Superintendent Gomez said the fencing materials have been ordered and work will begin on Monday. Work will also begin Monday on the elementary schools’ entryways and the additional items that have been added to the architectural plans. A districtwide visitor management system has been purchased and will be tested in the district’s summer school programs over the next few months. He said he is keeping the new superintendent, Dr. Jill Gildea, updated on the safety projects underway and they will be creating contingency plans, in the event that a project is not complete before school starts this fall.

Leadership Training

Maryann Billington with the Action Leadership Group based in Salt Lake City facilitated training for board members

PCSD Community Education Offers Fun Adventures This Summer

There’s more to summer than video games or sheer boredom. With more than 100 class offerings, students can experience a fun and educational summer thanks to the district’s Community Education program.

“During the summer, we concentrate on programs for youths and teens, said Jane Toly, Leisure Living coordinator. “We’ll have many more adult classes in the fall, starting in late September.”

For preschool-aged children, there are offerings such as Animal Safari, Art, Diggin’ Dinosaurs Jr., Kids Yoga, and Bubbles & Water Science Fun.

For elementary students there is Beginning Chess, Drawing & Painting, Cartoonpalooza, Movie Star Camp, Cooking, Science, Digital Moviemaking, Lego Robotics, and much more.

Some classes begin next week. For a complete listing of summer offerings, view The Compass here.

Click here to register online or call Jane Toly at 435-615-0215.