School Board Votes To Purchase $870,000 Home For Park City Superintendent

Sep 4, 2018

Credit 3095 Homestead Drive, Park City Utah

The Park City School Board approved the purchase of a 3400 square foot home for $870,000 dollars as part of the contract to provide housing for the school district superintendent. Member Petra Butler voted against the purchase outlining several concerns. Carolyn Murray has this:

The home is located at 3095 West Homestead Road in the Jeremy Ranch neighborhood. The purchase price was approved by three of the four Park City School Board members in attendance. Board President Andrew Caplan was absent. Member Butler says she is concerned about allocating close to a million dollars in capital funds sighting several issues. Her first concern is she and other board members have not seen the property.

“I am going to vote no on this and I want to explain why I am going to vote no. First of all, I would never buy a house that I haven’t seen, and so we haven’t had the opportunity to see this house at all. Basically, we haven’t had any information other than the information loaded into Board Docs on Saturday. And in my opinion, it would be irresponsible of this board to move forward and buy an $870,000 house without seeing it. Would you buy a house without seeing it? The answer to that is probably no.”

Business Administrator, Todd Hauber says he visited the home and did a secondary inspection.

“I was given the charge by the board to go find property for the superintendent on behalf of the board.  And I took that serious. I wanted to be sure we brought the best product forward. So, we did do our homework. We’ve been through it. We’ve even crawled into and had the inspections done.”

“And you know what, I did not mean anything negative by it in that sense. This is the governing board, right. This is the five people that are elected in this district to represent the constituency. So, we represent their tax dollars being spent.”

Butler wants the school board to choose a house that would be appropriate for any superintendent now and in the future.

“I want to think about the house itself that we are purchasing. The location or where it’s at, the condition that it’s in, the situation of the driveway and many other issues. I thought when we went into this process, we would not buy a house that was specific to any one individual. And I think in this case, we have done that. I think if you look at any other Mountain Town Superintendents …we’ve had this conversation already. You know they get condos or town houses. You know we have three individuals that will be moving into a 3700 square foot house.”

Butler says providing a stipend for housing would be a way to fulfill the housing contract with the Superintendent but not tie up money that may be needed for capital projects in the future.

“You know, I think our superintendent has a great package, more so than any other superintendent in the state of Utah, more than any other superintendent in a mountain town district. So, whether you buy a house or provide a stipend, I just think it’s not a good move to buy a house in this market.”

School Board Vice President, JJ Ehlers says purchasing a home is a better investment.

“In my mind, the purchase is a capital investment which would go up over time and a stipend which is a payment that comes out of our budget which we really don’t get anything back for other than having a place to live for the superintendent.”

Butler says a stipend could be used by the superintendent to go towards purchasing a home and it would cultivate a stronger tie to the community and would be a more responsible way to spend tax payer dollars.

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“I’ve heard enough from my constituents that this is a very hot button issue. I can’t sit on this board and lock up almost a million dollars. I mean, to me that‘s not strategically in the best interests of the district because we have no idea what’s going to happen with this bond with the master planning and the direction that things are going.”   

Board member Anne Peters is comfortable with the School Board making the capital investment.

“I would really love for the Superintendent to get settled. It’s been really disruptive. And I would really like for her to get settled. We’ve kind of been around on this issue for a while and I completely appreciate all of your points. But, I feel like we all, somehow, we agreed on buying verses a stipend because of the investment and because of the return on the investment. I understand the million is locked up so hopefully there will be a million something when this is all over.”

Board member Erin Grady says her constituents have been supportive of purchasing the property for use by the superintendent.

“I have actually had a very different experience with my constituents that I have actually had brought up with me and most of them are very supportive and behind it once we’ve talked through everything so, and I am, again, will echo you as far as I think it is really important we get our Superintendent settled."

The purchase of the property is scheduled for closing on September 10th.