A recent editorial in The Park Record (March 7) requires clarification and correction. The Park City Education Association is extremely appreciative of the $2,500 salary increase and the $1,000 stipend given to teachers by the Utah State Legislature. PCEA leadership visited the capitol and personally thanked supportive legislators. This marks the first time the state has directed specific amounts to be applied directly to the salary schedule.
It is also important to note that the first district cut occurred last fall. The PCSD teachers accepted the lowest increase settlement in the state one percent. State average was 4.5 percent The second cut occurred in January when teachers reduced their supply budget by 20 percent.
Of course, teachers are concerned with potential cuts or changes that the board and district administration are considering. Teachers have been the primary factor in making PCSD the best school district in the state and one of the best in the country. Teachers want to ensure that no obstacles are raised to prevent them from maintaining or improving that standing. Students and their performance are the No. 1 concern of teachers.
It may be helpful to take a macro perspective of the school budget. Because of the dynamics of the district budget, focusing on the bottom line of the general fund will give you a snapshot assessment. Trace the revenue, expenditures, transfers and levy rates of the nine taxing entities and the assessment may not be as negative, particularly if you address the discretionary funds. We should be reminded that the school tax levy has decreased 11 percent in the last two years, but revenue increased nearly $4 million (source, PCSD Annual Financial Report). Significant revenue potential exists in several funds.
The district is currently dealing with the cumulative costs incurred with realignment, ELL-Reading initiatives, health insurance increases, PCHS remodels (paid for with ongoing funds), International Baccalaureate, transfers out of the general fund, subsidies of costs relevant to other funds, PCEF grants that became district costs and increased utility costs. This is happening during major personnel changes in the district office. It is a fiscally dynamic time.
Fortunately, there is another opportunity to voice your/our opinion (concern and solution) during public input at the board of education meeting this Tuesday, March 20, at the district office. We hope that all interaction be appropriate and professional. We are appreciative of the parents and patrons who have attended and voiced their thoughts and ideas. We are thankful for the opportunity to speak at the Feb. 27 forum.
It is our understanding that the cumulative effort of the budget committee and subsequent board review will conclude Tuesday night. Decisions may be disseminated at that time. We hope that information will be dispensed in a respectful manner to anyone whose job is affected negatively.
PCEA respects the time and efforts of the school board and district administrators. They are good people who have to make difficult decisions.
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Sundance Institute Managing Director Betsy Wallace says, “We believe the district will enrich the community as a whole and also serve as a valuable economic driver for years to come.”