State audit says Park City School District isn’t following environmental rules
The Utah Legislative Auditor General released a full report on the Park City School District.
The report released Monday states the Park City School District’s procedures are insufficient to assure compliance with environmental regulations.
It claims the district “created unauthorized waste piles of contaminated soil that may cost millions of dollars to be removed.”
The waste piles in question are stored behind Treasure Mountain Junior High. The contaminated soil was moved there as part of two capital projects at McPolin Elementary over the past several years.
Along with citing potential health risks, the auditor general said the district exposed itself to possible regulatory actions under state, federal, and municipal laws.
The audit, which took roughly nine months to complete, also addresses the district’s recent troubles with construction projects. The expansion of Jeremy Ranch Elementary was put on hold last year after Summit County issued a stop work order, due to a lack of permitting.
The report states school districts in Utah have not always been held accountable for compliance by local and state regulators. It says the Utah State Board of Education has been lax when it comes to receiving permits prior to construction, as required by law.
Auditors recommend the Utah Legislature consider changes to state law clarifying local government authority over land use in relation to school construction. They also recommend a statewide school construction audit in light of the Park City School District findings.
Regarding both contaminated soil and construction projects, the report says the school district needs to develop better administrative processes to ensure objectives are being met.
A separate section of the report addresses student performance at the district. Auditors said despite Park City having overall high proficiency rates, the school district could do more to intentionally identify and provide oversight for student groups that need additional support.
In response to the audit, the Park City School District said it plans to “implement actions that increase compliance, efficiency, and accountability.”
It added the “Park City School District recognizes that there is always work to be done and improvements that can be made in furtherance of our mission in providing the best possible educational opportunities and outcomes for ALL students. As we work to implement recommendations moving forward, we look forward to positive results for our schools and community.”