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Park City school board approves tax increase for educator raises

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

The Park City Board of Education is moving forward with a tax increase for a 6% staff pay raise.

A primary home worth $1.3 million can expect to pay about $150 more a year with the tax increase, according to the budget approved by the school board Tuesday. A state-mandated Truth in Taxation hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20, at 6 p.m.

The increase will help pay for the compensation agreement reached last year between the school district and the teachers union. Last year teachers, secretaries, custodians and all other salaried employees of the school district got a 16% pay increase. On Tuesday the board approved an additional 6% bump for the next fiscal year, per the terms of the agreement.

Park City School District Administrator Randy Upton said the competitive pay will help the district hire and retain staff.

“This year as I’ve looked at other districts coming in, there’s been a couple districts at 5%,” Upton said. “Districts around us have been at 4%, 2.75%.”

That agreement does not include a raise for Park City School District Superintendent Jill Gildea, who was the highest-paid superintendent in Utah in 2023.

According to data from Transparent Utah, the state auditor’s public employee salary database, Gildea earned almost $320,000 in wages last year and over $95,000 in benefits. In total, more than $415,000.

The Park City School District reports 4,200 students are enrolled across eight schools.

For comparison, the superintendent of the Alpine School District, the largest in the state, earned just over $240,000 last year with about $100,000 in benefits for a total of around $340,000. Shane Farnsworth’s district supports 84,000 students in over 80 schools.

State data shows teachers in Park City and their Utah County counterparts both earned an average of about $93,000 last year.

Gildea has one year remaining in her contract, which also includes a home in the area and a vehicle.

The board must notify Gildea by Feb. 1, 2025, if it does not plan to renew her contract.

Three seats on the school board are up for election in November. Two incumbents, Andrew Caplan and Wendy Crossland, aren’t running for reelection and plan to step down after this year.

Park City School District Business Administrator Randy Upton will be on the KPCW Local News Hour Thursday morning at 8:30 to talk more about the proposed tax increase and next year’s budget.

Utah’s top-earning superintendents, in order of enrollment, according to 2023 data from Transparent Utah:

Alpine School District Superintendent

Shane Farnsworth

Wages: $240,450

Benefits: $101,186

Total: $341,636

Enrollment: 84,000

Number of schools: 85


Davis School District Superintendent

Daniel Linford

Wages: $248,399

Benefits: $99,506

Total: $347,905

Enrollment: 70,000

Number of schools:89


Granite School District Superintendent

Richard Nye

Wages; $273,312

Benefits: $103,763

Total: $377,075

Enrollment: 60,000

Number of schools: 80


Nebo School District Superintendent

Richard Nielsen

Wages: $250,399

Benefits: $96,223

Enrollment: 43,000

Number of schools: 45


Provo City School District Superintendent

Keith Rittel

Wages: $290,257

Benefits: not found

Enrollment: 14,200

Number of schools: 19


Park City School District Superintendent

Jill Gildea

Wages: $318,945

Benefits: $96,255

Total: $415,201

Enrollment: less than 5,000

Number of schools: 8