The Park City School Board met Tuesday with a presentation on enrollment numbers and the impacts on state funds to the district. The board discussed how the district policy addresses the very small class sizes in some of the elementary schools. Carolyn Murray has this:
Park City School District enrollment is down .8 percent overall this year. This is based on the initial October 1st head counts and is subject to change after the State completes the enrollment audit next month. Business Administrator, Todd Hauber said the board decision last year to close schools could be part of the enrollment drop. The drop will impact state funding to the district by 250 to 280 thousand dollars. “October first counts came in at 4,780 students…that doesn’t count pre-school…that’s K through 12. That’s 81 short of what we had projected. WE had projected to be in at 4861. With that year over, was a reduction by 37 students. So, we thought we would grow by about 44 and we declined by 37. That’s the big picture, that’s what’s happening. When you look into the numbers specifically, the variance on the projection happens in the kindergarten and first grade levels so we had fewer kindergarten and first grade come into the system.” Board of Education Vice President JJ Ehlers said their primary responsibility is the budget and Todd Hauber will evaluate the shortfall and make recommendations. “I mean that’s our primary responsibility is the budget. So, Todd will come back, superintendent Gildea and Todd will come back with recommendations on what we will need to change in the budget. You know, there are some rainy-day funds that we may be able to dip into. In the past couple of years, we have had more money than we had expected. You know, this year we can hope that it ends up being a little more of a wash, that this is covered some other way. We’ll just have to see. He’ll have to take a look and make budget projections and that’s what we pay him for.” Board member Petra Butler asked if there is a district policy to address small class sizes. Superintendent Jill Gildea said whatever is decided, it needs to be communicated ahead of time. “How do you make the decision if a class moves forward with 11 students or not? I mean, what’s the totality of the number of students in all of the classes? I mean what’s the…..” "Right, we’re going to have to see what…we’re going to have to learn the procedure and the cut-off dates that you have because typically what happens is, people remain enrolled and they don’t always let you know they’re moving and that’s typically what you have. You think you have 16-18 and you come back…it’s 13 or 12. So, we have to figure out what our ins and outs are, our mobility rate and if there is a pattern. But it has to be something that the community knows is going to happen, that it’s a norm, that it’s established otherwise they’re going to love the 12 or 14 and all of a sudden you’re going to make em a 24 or 25 and they’re going to be like whoaaa….” “Well no, my greatest concern is when we have class sizes that are so small that that doesn’t become the norm. So, I think we’ve got to find some sort of a happy medium that’s going to work in both directions. And, I know it’s difficult.” Ecker Hill Middle School enrollment increased by 24 students over last year. Park City High School has 24 additional students. s Gildea and Hauber will evaluate the needs of the district and provide a policy response later. The meeting calendar for the upcoming year was also discussed. Superintendent Jill Gildea suggested the work sessions usually scheduled for one day a month could be condensed or eliminated. She said there are no agenda items published for four of the eight work session meetings scheduled through the end of the school year. No decision was made to eliminate executive school board meetings from the calendar at this time.