Park City School District to increase taxes to fund more positions
The Park City Board of Education is days away from approving its budget for fiscal year 2019.
After spending several months discussing new positions in the Park City School District, student fees and program offerings, the Board settled on a preliminary general fund budget of $76.3 million. The budget will require a tax increase totaling about $5.6 million, said Todd Hauber, business administrator of the district.
Hauber said that the Board was aware that a tax increase was going to be required this year, based on increases to the budget last year. The $5.6 million is within the anticipated amount, he said.
Since the certified tax rates from the state and the county have not been finalized, Hauber said that the number could change before the budget is approved. For now, it means that primary homeowners will owe an additional $24 per $100,000 of market value on their homes. Secondary homeowners or commercial properties will owe $42 on $100,000 of market value.
Hauber said that the district is anticipating an enrollment growth of 0.9 percent. Assessed valuations, which determine the value of a property used to set tax rates, are expected to increase by 6.3 percent as well. Both numbers could increase the amount of money the district receives from the state.
The majority of the increase to the district’s budget comes from additional FTE (full-time employment) positions. The district plans to add three new assistant principal positions at the secondary schools, as well as four interventionists and two special education teachers at the four elementary schools.
The total increase in the budget is expected to be 21.14 FTEs. The majority of the positions, 36 percent, would be new teachers. Another 8 percent represent additional paraprofessionals, or non-licensed assistants, who will work in the classroom with students. Twenty-eight percent would be interventionists and other support positions and 14 percent would be assistant principals.
The district also voted in April to cover mandatory and academic-related fees for courses at Ecker Hill Middle School, Treasure Mountain Junior High and Park City High School to ensure that every student has an equal opportunity to take the electives of their choosing. The district will pay $691,000 to cover those fees. In the past, students and their families were required to pay or sign a waiver of fees.
Hauber said that the district is still focusing on student wellness in its hires, as it has been for the last few years. The interventionists, for example, would help students who are struggling with learning certain subjects, which Hauber said will help students reduce their anxiety and stress.
“Student wellness is the major theme,” he said. “We are focusing on the staff and the resources needed right there in the classroom.”
Hauber said that the budget has taken more time than expected to finalize. Originally, the Board planned to approve its budget by mid-April. But, he said, the Board has been able to think through every expense more and better understand each of the positions that it will be adding to the district.
“It’s been well thought-through,” he said. “It may have been a little tumultuous and bumping as we went through, but for the most part, it was a good process.”
The Board is expected to hold a public hearing of its budget at the district office on Tuesday at 6 p.m. following the Board’s regular meeting at 4 p.m.
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The Park City Board of Education is on track to place a bond on the ballot this fall to improve district facilities. The top priorities would be to put ninth grade in the high school, eighth grade in the middle school and to augment preschool offerings by expanding elementary schools.