Park City Board of Education approves budget, tax increase
A tax increase is coming to residents within the Park City School District boundaries.
The Park City Board of Education approved its 2019 fiscal year budget on Thursday evening and, with it, put its stamp of approval on an increase to property taxes that is expected to generate about $5.6 million. Primary homeowners will be expected to pay an additional $23 per $100,000 of market value on their homes. Secondary homeowners or commercial properties will owe $42 on $100,000 of market value, said Todd Hauber, business administrator for the district.
The Board’s vote to approve the budget was 4 to 1, with member Petra Butler dissenting. Butler did not explain her reasoning for her vote at the meeting and did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment Friday.
Andrew Caplan, president of the Board, said a tax increase was expected for this year’s budget since the Board increased salaries of district employees last year.
The Board also chose to add several new positions this year, including one additional assistant principal at each of the secondary schools and interventionists who will assist the elementary schools.
The budget approval was initially slated for Tuesday, but three Board members were unable to attend the meeting, necessitating a postponement until Thursday. Jim Tedford, a retired teacher and community member, came to what had been scheduled as a budget hearing on Tuesday evening to express his concerns about the tax increase, given other tax hikes expected to happen at the city and county levels. He was especially concerned about the hiring of the assistant principals because he said that the low population of the schools should not require more leadership.
Caplan said after the meeting that the new positions were added to support student wellness and equity. Hauber added that the wellness of teachers was also taken into account with the addition of positions that can help alleviate the work they have been tasked with.
“We see in the budget as well support for teachers so they can stay focused on teaching,” he said.
Tedford also told the Board his concerns about the compensation of the new superintendent, Jill Gildea. Hauber said after the meeting that she will have a base pay salary of $235,000 and a total salary package, including benefits, of $348,000.
The approval of the budget came two months after the initial deadline the Board set for itself. Hauber said that the delay came primarily from the change in leadership. Former Superintendent Ember Conley announced that she would be stepping down before the end of the year, and the district appointed David Gomez as an interim superintendent around the time that the Board delved into the budget.
The superintendent, as the chief budget officer, is expected to submit a tentative budget to the Board. The tentative budget was delayed as Conley and other district staffers put together the proposal during the transition, Hauber said.
This was the first year that the Board set a goal to finalize its budget in April rather than the typical June deadline. Members stated in the past that it was to allow more time for hiring new positions. Caplan said that the Board hopes to streamline the process in the future to ensure that the budget is done efficiently.
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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.