Weilenmann will take students away from the Park City School District | ParkRecord.com

Weilenmann will take students away from the Park City School District

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

A report from the Weilenmann School of Discovery shows more than 300 students might leave the Park City School District in the next school year to attend the new charter school in Pinebrook.

Weilenmann is a public charter school. Parents will not pay tuition for their kids to attend Weilenmann because the school uses monies that had been earmarked for public schools where their children would have gone. Children selected to attend the Weilenmann School of Discovery are picked through a lottery.

"It is completely random," said Cynthia Phillips, middle school dean at the Weilenmann School of Discovery.

The charter school is under construction on Kilby Road. It could have 550 students when it opens this summer, according to Phillips.

Approximately 332 of those kids could come from the Park City School District.

"There are 332 kids that are currently enrolled in Park City schools that have been accepted through the lottery at Weilenmann," said Mo Hickey, a member of the Park City Board of Education. "This is a disruptive event, having a new entity. However, we can’t lose sight of what our focus is It’s not an unmanageable situation by any means."

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The district will lose a share of property tax revenue, about $363 per child, when its students transfer to Weilenmann, according to district officials.

Weighted-pupil-unit funding the school district receives from income tax, which is about $2,577 per student, also leaves the district when students transfer to the charter, officials said.

Students leaving the district next fall, however, should not result in employee layoffs, Hickey explained.

"As the uncertainty of the charter school has been out there the past couple months, there has been a concern amongst the staff that there would be a mass layoff required if there was a huge drain of students," he said. "I want to stress, there will be no mass layoffs."

Many of Weilenmann’s students next year may currently attend Jeremy Ranch Elementary School, with administrators there saying they could lose about 129 students this fall.

Perhaps surprising is how many parents with students at Trailside Elementary School have expressed interest in the Weilenmann School of Discovery, which will house kindergarten through eighth grade. Trailside could lose about 66 students.

With Trailside Principal Pat Flynn set to retire this year, Hickey said there was uncertainty about who would replace Flynn.

"I’ve heard a lot of parents at Trailside have applied (at Weilenmann) because there was uncertainty over the new principal selection," Hickey said. "You may have people who are applying and then waiting to see who the new principal is going to be. When people are uncertain sometimes they hedge their situation a little bit."

District officials this week named Kathleen Einhorn as Flynn’s replacement.

The Park City School District has roughly 4,500 students, Hickey said.

"Three hundred and thirty two is certainly not a catastrophic number to us," Hickey said. "The numbers are not a surprise based on what we were anticipating."

The report this week from Weilenmann contained only estimates. Confirmed enrollment numbers from the charter school are due June 30.

"We have to wait until June 30 to get an accurate number so we can be more definitive in our final plans," Hickey said. "I don’t greatly anticipate that 332 number changing dramatically."

About 57 percent of the students at Weilenmann next year may come from the Park City School District, said Merry Fusselman, a member of the board of directors for the Weilenmann school.

"The other 43 percent is coming from Salt Lake, Heber, Kamas and private schools," Fusselman said.