Park City School District’s master planning meeting Tuesday night introduced costs related to the grade alignment options. Those options were presented by consultants to the school board last month. The 19-person steering committee came up with four options showing different school and grade configurations. One prevailing tenet is, everyone agrees, that ninth grade should be in the high school.
Last month, during the Park City School Board meeting, consultants delivered options that included a variety of grade alignment groupings. Each was given a weighted ranking with Options A and B scoring highest. C and D received lower scores because they didn’t meet educational criteria such as minimizing redistricting and creating diverse school populations. C and D would have significant remodeling needs and they’d have more busing requirements.
Board members asked the consultants to return with general cost estimates and a listing of pros and cons associated with each option.
NV5 Consultant, Chris Guarino opened the panel discussion with a general overview of the options and their costs.
“This is one of the lower cost options out of everything that’s being considered. Puts 6th, 7th and 8th grade together in the middle school. And you keep K5. What's nice about this is it utilizes the existing elementary schools. We don't anticipate any redistricting implications. It maintains the current balance for the dual language programs. This will likely require additions to two or more schools and then it limits opportunities for growth of the PK in the neighborhood schools.”
Pre-kindergarten classes are expanding throughout the school district. The program is considered critical for future academic success.
Option A includes another alternative that would be two, 6th-8th grade middle schools. The cost estimate increases to two-dollar signs and would require middle school redistricting and remodeling or replacing Treasure Hill Junior High.
Option B relative cost is three-dollar signs. Its alignment is a K-6 and a 7-8 school. Ecker Hill could still be used but there would have to be a new elementary school and that would require some redistricting. The dual language program would need to be balanced as well.
Option C reflects the highest cost, which is four-dollar signs. It presents a K-8 alignment. New schools would be needed along with significant remodels of all schools including Ecker Hill. It would also limit diversification because kids would stay in their neighborhoods longer.
“To pursue a K-8 option, it’s going to be expensive. What we be doing is adding six, seventh and eighth grade to the neighborhood elementary schools.”
Option D was originally ranked lowest for meeting the educational criteria. Guarino says the planning committee rated costs relatively high with three-dollar signs out of four. Ecker Hill would need to be expanded or a new school built adjacent, to accommodate all four grades.
“K through four together. Grouping five and six, and then grouping seven and eight. And there's been a little bit of variety in that conversation. Is it a campus with 5/6 and 7/8? Or is it two separate facilities, two separate campuses? If we are using two Middles on one campus, we can reuse Ecker, but we would have to add another facility on that Ecker site.”
Planners will continue to gather public input on the options through a survey which will be done before the May 21st Board of Education meeting.
Go to http://pcfutureoflearning.pcschools.us/ to see more about the grade alignment options.