The four school districts in Wasatch and Summit County have submitted their final head counts to the State. Schools receive state funds based on student enrollment and October 1st head counts. School district budgets are finished in June several months before the enrollment numbers are finalized. Park City School District has fewer students this year than projected so budget adjustments are needed. Carolyn Murray has this report:
Enrollment was lower than expected in the Park City School District this year with 37 fewer students than last year. They had predicted they would grow by 44 students this year. Business Administrator, Todd Hauber said the overall impact will require a budget adjustment.
“October one counts came in at 4780 students. That’s 81- short of what we had projected. We had projected to be in at 4861. When you look into the numbers specifically, the variance on the projection happens in the kindergarten and first grade levels. So, we had fewer kindergarteners and first graders come into the system than we had forecasted. It does have a fiscal impact because these are the official numbers that go in to the state that they then fund from. So, we will probably be coming in under our revenue budget by 250 to 280-thousand-dollars." The South Summit School District had an increase of 42 students which is 3.49 percent over last year. They have a total of 1693 students in the district. Business Administrator, Kip Bigelow said the increase was anticipated. The district is updating their enrollment master plan to incorporate new developments. They will present the findings during the December 12th board meeting. Bigelow said all the schools are at capacity and the school board is discussing a capital bond initiative for next election. Silver Creek Village and a development in Francis are two projects that will impact enrollment more than the 4 percent growth they’ve had in the past several years. "Well, obviously, student enrollment is the driving factor. So, that’s one of the reasons we are updating this is to get current and the most accurate information we can get. Currently, the schools located in Kamas are pretty much at capacity. So, any new growth, we feel that impact in those schools. There’s just no room, to grow. Even our library in our high school had to be divided and turned into classrooms. We’re just out of room to educate students there.” The North Summit School District in Coalville has a student population of 1079. They had about 30, or 3.24 percent more students enrolled this year than last year. Business Administrator, Julie Black said much of their increase this year came from kindergarten enrollment with an additional 17 students bringing the cohort up to 84, total. They expect to see continued enrollment growth due to new subdivisions planned in Coalville. The school board has contracted with Lewis Young to do a growth study to begin after the election in November. “And, the reason for that is there’s something on the ballot to do with Hoytsville becoming annexed into Coalville. So, we feel that could play some part in our growth. If that happens, there could be people in Hoytsville that are selling land that could be sold to developers and so once that is completed, the company we’ve selected to do our analysis will begin that after those election results.” Wasatch School District is has the highest number of students enrolled KPCW listening areas of Wasatch and Summit Counties. With 7040 students, they continue to grow by about 3 percent a year, as they have done since 1991.They’ve hired the California firm, Davis Demographics to do growth studies and Business Administrator, Keith Johansen said results of the study will be available in the next few months. He said eventually, they will need a new high school although for now, they have extra space at a vacated older school building near the high school. “I can’t imagine a bigger decision for a school board than where and when to put anew high school. Wasatch County has always been one high school and you know when you split a county in half that is as tight as this community is, it’s going to be a very difficult (fun) decision for the board. The boundaries of schools, things like that are huge decisions for the board. Usually, there’s a series of hearings that we would hold at each of the schools. You know we would get as much public input as we can. You know, the board has to make the final decision, but they will look for as much input from the public as absolutely possible." The North Summit, South Summit and Wasatch School Districts will not require budget adjustments based on this year’s enrollment numbers. Park City will have to cut the budget by a little over a quarter of a million dollars.