Park City schools will open amidst construction
Students in the Park City School District return to class Tuesday, Aug. 22. Teachers are back in the classroom next Thursday.
Newly hired teachers will be the first staff back for the new school year with three days of teacher orientation Aug. 14 - 16. Veteran teachers will start on Thursday the 17th and students, including kindergarten, will all start on the same day this year, the 22nd. Preschool students return for the year after Labor Day on September 5.
Park City Superintendent of Schools Jill Gildea says the staff is ready and needed repairs were made over the summer.
"We're excited about the work that's happened this summer,” Gildea said. “A lot of the work is visible, you can see it happening. But there's a lot that's happening behind the scenes as well. Everything from our maintenance team, doing the HVAC updates, preventative maintenance, all of that, you know, to keep that airflow going.”
With more than 4,300 students registered, enrollment is flat and following national trends. Gildea says they’re seeing fewer children in the younger grades.
As many as 40 new staff members have been hired and first year teachers are earning upwards of $60,000.
“Yes, we're trying to keep up with our neighboring districts. We're all pretty close, you know. Statewide, this has been a real effort to try to increase educator pay. Interestingly, when we talk to people as they're exiting, sometimes it's a transfer, sometimes it's moving towards home and family that they may have left for a while," Gildea explained. "And other times it is getting close - 'I want to live close to where I work. I can make the same amount of money 10 minutes away versus coming up and down the canyon every day.' So, we do battle that right as a mountain town.”
A truth in taxation hearing will be held on August 15 at 6 p.m. in order to increase taxes to pay staff salaries.
Even though the district’s human resources officer is leaving at the end of the month, Gildea says they are in good shape with hiring.
But with construction at four of the school campuses as well as road construction on SR 248, she says getting in and out of the Kearns schools will be challenging.
“We just have to get through this pain point,” she said. “So about six more weeks, we anticipate that construction project will be going on. We meet collaboratively, we try to keep up with you know what is happening, but boy, it is definitely going to impact the Kearns campus and we can't deny that people are going to have to be very careful going in and out of the parking lots. There likely will be some delays, we're going to have to have patience.”
Construction on the $129-million bonded school projects will continue through the school year and the two elementary preschools will be open for the 2024-25 school year. The Park City High School and Ecker Hill Middle School remodels won’t be ready until the 2025-26 school year.