South Summit District moves forward after bond failure
After the South Summit School District’s bond was voted down at the polls last November, the district is searching for solutions for overcrowding at the schools.
Jim Snyder, president of the South Summit Board of Education, said that last month, the Board decided on four preliminary solutions and will be discussing them in detail at its next meeting on Jan. 11. As the district’s population continues to grow, the Board is looking for solutions to have enough space for its students.
During the last 10 years, the district has had enrollment growth of 15 percent. The bond, which was defeated with a 1,167-939 split, would have been used to construct a new high school and resulted in realigned grades throughout the existing schools.
One of the solutions the Board is considering is to bond for a second elementary school in Francis, where he said that the majority of the growth is taking place. Another is to buy or lease the building that housed the Oakley School, a private school that went out of business.
But, he said, there are some drawbacks to acquiring the Oakley School property.
“The building is not designed for younger-aged students, so we would have to do some retrofitting,” he said. “And Oakley is located on the north side of the valley, which is away from our growth.”
Constructing portable classrooms and a year-round trimester schedule are the two other solutions, which Superintendent Shad Sorenson stated as options immediately following the bond’s defeat in November.
Snyder said that there would be some difficulties associated with switching to a non-traditional schedule, but that they do not want to rule it out until the Board meets with district staff, which it plans to do later this month.
“I honestly believe that that is going to be the source of our best information — with the people that work in the buildings,” he said.
The Board also plans on meeting with community members on Jan. 25 at South Summit Middle School at 6:30 p.m. to understand why they voted against the bond.
Snyder said that no official timeline has been established as the Board moves forward, but that decisions need to be made. There is the possibility of modular classrooms being installed at some of the schools as early as the upcoming school year.
“The sooner (we decide) the better,” he said. “But on the other hand, we want to make sure that we make a valid, data-driven decision that is going to be best for the district.”
The Board will continue its discussion of options for master planning at its meeting on Jan. 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the district office.
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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.