School Board looks at specific budget cuts | ParkRecord.com

School Board looks at specific budget cuts

Megan Yeiter , The Park Record

The Park City School Board is in the thick of budget discussions for the next school year. After meeting with the administrative staff on Tuesday to continue budget discussions, School Board members will continue to debate how they will slash $5 million in expenses before next year.

According to School Board President Moe Hickey, the purpose of the Tuesday retreat was not to make decisions, but to discuss their options with staffers.

"We took all the recommendations from the schools’ principals," Hickey said. "We had a really good open dialogue on how it would affect students and what that effect would be if there was one. We’re in the process of determining what these cuts will look like."

The School Board is taking into consideration the Budget Advisory Committee’s recommendations along with the recommendations the School District’s Superintendent Ray Timothy presented in February, Hickey said, adding that they are committed to reaching the $5 million goal.

"The bottom line is we’re still focused on the same dollar amount in reductions. The question is it from column ‘A’ or column ‘B,’" Hickey said, adding that they have been working closely with an auditor to make sure everything is accounted for.

"We want to make sure we’re working off the same numbers," he said. "We’re relying a little bit more on our auditor, which is not a bad thing at a time like this."

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Hickey said a one-page summary of the budget update will be posted on the School District’s website over the weekend. A town hall meeting is scheduled April 3, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Park City High School’s lecture hall. The meeting will be an open question-and-answer forum.

According to Timothy, the majority of Tuesday’s meeting was closed to the public because they were talking about specific employees and addressing positions that could be eliminated.

"I’ll come forward on March 27 and there might be some modifications and some changes made to some of the recommendations, but we’re still pretty much moving forward on what I’ve already shared with the board at this point," Timothy said.

The School Board’s first priority is to give direction to the principals regarding personnel and staffing issues. The School Board would like to give that direction by the beginning of April, Hickey said, adding that they will be working on the instructions during the School Board meeting scheduled for March 27.

"We’re trying, to the best of our ability, to be giving direction to our principals if there are any staffing changes in early April," he said. "Following that we can address other areas. We established this process early in the year and personally, I feel very comfortable with the process in a difficult situation."

The School District welcomes input from the community, according to Hickey, who said the best way to ask questions or submit concerns is by email at budget@pcschools.us .

"We receive a lot of what I would consider good and supportive input from the community," he said. "We certainly look at that and we try to respond to all emails we receive in a timely matter. We want people to feel like they are informed."

The School Board is also working with Parent Teach Organizations and Community Council committees to offer another option for parents and community members to have their questions addressed.