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Petition seeks to delay renewal of Park City School District superintendent’s contract until 2025

Park City School District.
Kristine Weller
Park City School District.

A petition circulating on Change.org asks the Park City School District not to renew the superintendent’s contract until a new school board takes over in 2025.

Board President Andrew Caplan told KPCW in June the board intends to renew Superintendent Jill Gildea’s contract this year. Now some residents are pushing back.

Josh Mann and Karl Persson, who both have students in Park City public schools, posted the petition June 30. It requests Gildea’s contract not be considered for renewal until voters elect new board members in November and they take office next year.

The petition states the district would “benefit from finding a new superintendent who places a higher priority on transparency, accountability, and following laws.” It also cites reasons those behind the petition say Gildea’s contract should not be renewed at all.

First, the petition notes Gildea was the highest-paid superintendent in the state in 2023, earning over $415,000 in wages and benefits, according to Transparent Utah. That’s compared to Superintendent Shane Farnsworth at Alpine School District, the largest in the state, who earned more than $340,000 in total wages and benefits in 2023. Based on student population numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics and the Park City School District’s Strategic Dashboard, Gildea earned over $90 more per student than Farnsworth in the 2022-2023 school year.

Further, the petition states the Park City School District’s student population has decreased by 20% and says spending almost half a million dollars each year on a superintendent “may be a poor financial choice.” That figure contradicts the district’s strategic dashboard, which shows the student population decreased by almost 12% from the 2018-2019 school year to the 2023-2024 school year.

Petitioners also say Gildea hasn’t had a performance evaluation since being hired in 2018, and claims she’s had a “sub-par performance, which has negatively impacted district employees, families and taxpayers.”

In an email, the district told KPCW the board “conducts a thorough performance review” for the superintendent each year. Based on those reviews, the board either renews the superintendent's two-year contract or hires someone else.

“This fiduciary responsibility to review the contract annually is standard practice,” the district’s email stated.

The petition’s list of reasons for parent dissatisfaction with Gildea also includes the federal investigation that found more than 180 harassment incidents in the district, construction project failures and illegally storing contaminated soil behind Treasure Mountain Junior High.

More than 100 people had signed the petition as of Wednesday.