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.
–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.
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.
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.