The South Summit School District has seen a 15 percent increase in student enrollment in the last decade. While the board of education approved a 2.7 percent tax increase at its meeting Tuesday, that was to pay for increased teacher salaries in order to remain competitive to hire and retain teachers. District officials expect more tax increases in the future to build new facilities for the growing population. Melissa Allison has more:
School District Business Administrator Kip Bigelow said the growth they’re seeing is on par with what’s been projected.
“We’ve understood that there are several families who have possibly moved out of the district during the summer months and so until we get in school and those memberships moved, it looks like our enrollment will be somewhere around 1,730 to 40 students which is, more than we had last year. We were about 1,636 I think, at the end of last year," Bigelow said. "So the district is still growing and we anticipate that. I took some time yesterday to look at our projections that we did from our master planning three years ago and actually this amount comes very, very close to what we projected it would be right now.”
As things stand now, Superintendent Shad Sorenson said they have the space for the new students, but it’s getting tight.
“At this point in time we believe we’ll be able to do it without bringing in any portables," Sorenson said. "But we are right to the point where probably portables would be our next solution as a temporary measure until we can pass a bond and build an additional building.”
The Silver Summit Academy was built out to accommodate the students who will be moving in as the Silver Creek Village is built out. Already, Sorenson said they’re not able to accommodate the growing list of students who want to attend the school – that has been designed as a blended-learning school that use technology paired with face to face instruction.
“Our enrollments grew significantly there," Sorenson said. "We have a waiting list and I do not anticipate we will dive deep into that waiting list but we have 75 in our elementary program and nearing 120 in our secondary program. And that pretty much puts that building at capacity.”
As students move into the school from the Silver Creek area – Sorenson says there will be less room for students from the rest of the district.
With no signs of their growing numbers slowing down, Sorenson said they do have options, but not many.
“We do have that second building in the back where currently the Park City rain gutter is occupying," Sorenson said. "And so, current plan is that we would transition into that building when they build their new facility.”
Once students are approved to opt in for the academy, they can remain regardless of the number of students living within the school’s zone.
The new school year for students enrolled at the Silver Summit Academy in Park City started on Monday. The rest of South Summit schools will open on Monday.
I’m Melissa Allison, KPCW news.