Drop In Enrollment Is Small And Overall Growth Trend Should Continue
Park City enrollment numbers were down about one percent this year over last year. The impact on the budget will result in a short fall of state funds of about $250,000-dollars. The school budget has a little padding that covers the impacts of the lost revenues without dipping into any other essential funds. Carolyn Murray has this:
Business Administrator, Todd Hauber manages the Park City School District’s $78 million-dollar budget. He said the budget audits are nearly complete and it looks like they have reserves to cover the difference in WPU state funds.
“In the big scheme of things, it’s not a large amount but at that price, it’s a couple of teachers so we do take note. Fortunately, as we are closing out the books, we’ll have our audit committees reviewing our financial statements. We closed out better than we anticipated in the budget, so we will have some funds to be able to make up the short fall. It looks like we’ll be coming under budget about 2 percent so those funds will be available, so we can maintain staffing and programs.”
Hauber said they expected more incoming Kindergarteners and First Graders this year. He believes it isn’t a trend that would suggest they need to change their growth expectations of 1 percent growth over the next ten years.
“It just didn’t show up. Funny, things happen in different ways. I don’t have an explanation as to what happened there. So, that’s the big noticeable difference between this year and last year. We’re still watching the bubbly move through the secondary school…the junior high and the high school. AS those students move out, our incoming kindergarten class is smaller. WE have a natural decline in our growth but on top of that we do have new families moving in. WE ahd another 102 new students come into the system. So, we are growing. But, we also have a decline in our natural base?"
Hauber thinks the demographic study done last January anticipating 10 percent growth over the next 10 years is still valid. The School Board closed schools last year and Hauber has until December 1st to decide if they’ll open them back up this year.
"If anything, I'd call it…we’re flat right now. We will still watch it grow as we watch the economy grow here in our area. We’ll be having meeting in November. The board has to make its determination before December 1st as to whether a school is open or closed. So, we’re pulling that together s we look at these data points. We can look at each of the schools..how we’re using the schools…all come into that calculation, and we’ll have that information out before December 1st."
The five and a half million-dollar tax increase that was approved this summer is not impacted by the drop, in enrollment. Hauber said there are multiple considerations that pushed that tax increase.
“It’s not just enrollment growth when we were looking at the increase. We were looking at expanding services. We’re looking at the well-being of students, mental health and things of that nature. So, we were bringing staff on board. So, it was additional staff that were coming in under that five million dollars. Also, we have a three-year contract with all our employee groups. And, we’re in the second year of that contract which had additional costs as well.”
Hauber said there are changes in the county population growth patterns that the district needs to be ready to address. Studies show Summit County is expected to continue growing.
“There’s a demographic change as you look at what type fo the family, what size of the family and things like that as the prices of average homes goes up. We’re kind of split in our school district. If you’re looking at Park City proper, those are very high prices when you look at the average and they’re moving up faster than if you look out in the basin. Those are also high prices but not the same high, and moving at a different pace. And we’re watching most of our growth happen outside of the Park City proper, so out in the Basin and those are still bringing families in”
That’s Park City School District Business Administrator Todd Hauber.