Park City School Board Narrows Down Master Planning Options

Jun 4, 2019

Credit PCSD

The Park City Board of Education discussed the four grade alignment options during the work session on Tuesday. Having the master planning survey results and the preliminary estimates showing a range of project costs helped them to eliminate two of the four options from consideration.

The consultants GSBS, hired by the school board to guide the master planning process had presented four grade alignment options to the board of education in April. These options were the result of eight months work by a variety of stake holders. A future of Learning tab, outlining the master planning process and the four options, can be found on the pcschools.us web site.

In Tuesday’s meeting Park City School Board members concluded that Options B and C were not viable. They based the decision on the community survey responses and on preliminary cost estimates to implement the optios. The numbers were supplied for the first time at this meeting.

The survey respondents showed overwhelming support of 9th grade realigning back into the high school along with wide support of maintaining one high school location in town.

The future of a universal, district wide Pre-K programming in Park City has yet to be determined. Superintendent Jill Gildea says she is meeting with the Education Foundation and the Park City Community Foundation this week to discuss early childhood education needs and how it ties in with social equity objectives.

“An action step, out of that social equity task force and look at the potential of universal pre-school but also the potential of 0-3. So, you know, there’s kind of two pathways for that. So, I have a feeling this one will surface. So, I have down the steps as a needs assessment with an early childhood task force.”

Kara Hendrickson will be the board representative on that task force. She does not support phasing a universal pre-k program into the district over time as was a suggestion made by consultant, Chris Guarino in the previous master planning meeting.

“All the social impact it has on families, communities, students. This is something we need to do. Whoever needs it, do a universal pre-k. Kindergarten’s not even mandated, but we do that.”

They’re considering neighborhood programs aligned with the elementary schools but also talking about an option to build a multi-use early childhood education center.

To accommodate 9th grade, the high school will have to be expanded. Preliminary cost estimates indicate an addition would run $3 million to about $8 million. A remodel, according to the preliminary estimates, could cost from 47 million to $118 million. With the 9th graders joining the high school, enrollment is projected to be 2000 students by 2027.  Board president Andrew Caplan wants to consider options like a CTE (Career and Technical Education) or a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum and create a school within a school.

"Yea, that’s the other option. We need to start fleshing out and explaining to people it’s another way to control cohort size which is two schools, just different programing. So, it’s not about one in town, one out of town. You know, it’s about, different ways, different options for kids to learn.”

“And, like how do you balance that? How do you predict or project who is going in each one?  I mean, you have one that’s over-flowing and you have one that’s empty. I mean, you are kind of back to where we are right now…lottery…?”

Caplan says the middle years (5 -8) program options seem to have the least amount of consensus.

“You know with A, so far being the leader in terms of our community response, I think we should acknowledge that. That, you know, I think two to one in support of that. And, I think that that’s right now, kind of the preference of all of you guys. But we should continue to explore different iterations of what, especially the middle school years are going to look like. And, I think that’s kind of the trickiest one that has the most differing in terms of opinions in our community.”

Option A includes aligning k-5 in elementary and 6-8 in middle school. Option D would be a 5-6 middle years school and a 7-8 junior high school.

Caplan says there is an announcement coming this week from the Board of Education which addresses decisions on Standards Based Grading systems in the school district.

The Board of Education meets again in regular session on June 18 at 4 PM.