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Park City school class sizes may be a problem next year. It’s time to reach out to the Superintendent and the School Board.

Two weeks ago, I made the plea for parents to register their children for next year at Jeremy Ranch Elementary. Since that time I have heard from teachers and administrators across the district who are sounding warning bells. There are genuine concerns from educators that some elementary classes in Park City schools could have 35 students in a class.

This stems from a number of teachers who appear to be leaving and other teachers who are not having contracts renewed. It’s not likely from an influx of students, as our school numbers have been decreasing.

Now is the time to address this. If you have an elementary-aged student, I would encourage you to reach out to the Park City School Board and Superintendent Jill Gildea and ask what your estimated class size will be next year. As always, please be polite. No one likes to be yelled at, or be accused of malfeasance. However, I do believe our school leaders need to hear from parents that large class sizes are unacceptable.

You’ll likely hear back that the district won’t know until the final registration numbers are in. However, it seems fair to ask the question, “I know things may change, but what does it look like now?” We as parents need to ask this hard question and receive answers. We need to apply the pressure that lets our leaders know this is important. Hopefully, by asking the question now, the district will do everything in its power to keep class sizes at a level where children can learn, teachers don’t get more burnt out, and principals and staff aren’t putting out fires all day, every day.

Here are our Park City School Board members:

MemberEmailDistrict
Anne Peters1
Andrew Caplan2
Wendy Crossland3
Mandy Pomeroy4
Erin Grady5

If you don’t know what district you are in, you can click on the District Number on this page. It will show you a map.

If you’d like to reach out to Superintendent Dr. Gildea and voice your concerns, her email is:

In a best-case world, the district would publish an estimated class size for each class, in each school for next fall.

What you don’t want to happen is for your seven-year-old to show up on their first day of second grade and have forty kids in their class. By asking the simple question “how many children will be in my child’s class next year?” we can hopefully influence our schools to ensure class sizes are manageable.


Hi, I’m Josh Mann. I created the Park Rag in 2012 to tell stories like these. This year, I am running for Park City School Board. I believe that through open communication, we can build a stronger community. Thanks for stopping by.

Comments

28 Comments

En Syder

Multiple teachers who otherwise would have been happy to return are not having contracts renewed due to “budgetary” constraints. Class sizes are already far too large at many of the schools, and this will not help that. As you pointed out, unless someone speaks our, no one will know this until you show up to 30+ child classes.

What They Told Us

Class sizes are supposed to remain very low and manageable in our district across all grades. We’ve been promised that from our leaders. The number of students per class at 24 is considered the maximum. Ideal would be much less than that, 12-20.

Walt

We’re watching the end of public schools here in Park City, I think. I know multiple families who have pulled their kids to go to Rowland Hall/Weilman/Waterford/Day School/etc. That trend is going to accelerate.

The bottom line is that it’s tough to run public schools in Utah – the legislature is unfriendly and tightfisted. So you need really good admin and school boards to creatively make it work. Unfortunately we have, at best, incompetent ones who have actively driven away employees and families.

We’re sad to be pulling our kids but what can you really do when things are this bad?

Anonymous

Do you really think the PCSD cares if there are parents that pull their kids out to private schools? Less they have to deal with, and most of the time problems.

Walt

The cases I know of don’t involve kids who cause problems, they’re quite the opposite – the best students in the school.

But you make a good point. If we assume the administration only cares about getting their paycheck (which isn’t implausible) then fewer kids, at least within reason, isn’t a problem, and you can eliminate those pesky parents with PhDs annoying everyone trying to make the schools better.

At some point you can’t lay off more teachers, though, and you start having to cut admin. You’d think they would at least want to avoid that.

Who the heck knows. The decisions the board and administration have collectively made certainly seem to indicate they actively want the district to lose employees and students.

PC mom

Anonymous, that’s not how private school admissions works. They get to refuse “problems.”

XX

1. Push back when they talk about averages and ratios. They use most adults in the building to calculate these. So they can tell you 12:1 ratio but still end up with classes of 35 because the music teacher (who still has to see a class of 35) and the instructional coach (who does not see students) and the speech pathologist (who sees one at a time) are counted in the ratio.
2. Many of the principals are desperately trying to get authorization to hire more teachers. It’s the superintendent’s office that’s saying no.
3. You should also call your state lawmakers. Some (not all) of this problem is bc Utah’s per student funding is so low.
4. I honestly encourage you to ask why there is money for administrative salaries but not for more teachers’ salaries. Iirc Jill Gildea makes something like $350k in cash and another 100k in benefits. If her package was more in line with her peers’, that’s at least 3 new teachers. They also keep hiring new $$$$ positions at the DO. It adds up.

For real

What xx is saying is right. Those of us with boots on the ground know how bad it’s going to be next year. Principals are begging to not have a reduction in force. If the Superintendent sees the disaster and finally authorizes more teachers in August or September, it will be too late to secure good ones. Parents, you’re the last voice left. Unless you want giant classes next year, speak up now to the district office!

anonymous

Right now trailside is looking at classes of approximately 40 in some grade levels. The other elementaries are almost as bad.

Anonymous

Parents get involved, you have no idea what this super does not do. With Amy Hunt leaving she will be exposed for how much she does not do. Demand lower class sizes and reduction at the central office.

Sharon

The principal at JRES just called the non-duel classes “Stem” and said 4th grade next year will have 26 students each and 5th will have 31 each. This is terrible.

PC mom

At JRES the non-French classes have STEM as like an extra specialist. It makes it so there’s something special for both groups. If you must bitch at the DO about this please take care to emphasize that you would like to see this model at all the elementary schools to increase equity. My kids love the program and I’m so worried that they’re going to cut it bc parents at the other schools think it’s unfair and it’s easier to just make everything equally worse than work to bring everyone up.

Aim for the best

Looking at this from another angle, substitute teachers are hard to get now. I can’t imagine being a substitute and asked to handle an elementary class size of 30 or more. Park City can, and should do better. One year of too large class sizes will reduce learning for some of those students for years to come.

Walt

Don’t worry, the MI temp agency the district hired (causing half the subs to quit) will get right on it.

GT

One of the outcome goals of PCSD’s Master Planning with our community was to keep small class sizes small and reduce large cohorts into smaller class sizes. If PCSD doesn’t deliver on that primary goal, it will be a breach of trust. If trust is something they value, they must deliver on their Master Planning goals and promises.

Anonymous

They got your votes for the bond that is all they wanted.

Anonymous

Tough crowd. Rag always trying to stir the pot it seems. Let the teachers and administrators do their jobs.

Walt

We already tried letting the administrators do their jobs, though… that’s kinda the problem.

Parkrag

Just three comments:

1. Teachers are the ones that are raising concerns.
2. Principals are confirming class sizes of greater than 30 for next year unless things change.
3. If the district office comes out this week and guarantees that no elementary class will have more than 24 kids, and most will have 20 or less, I will apologize for the “pot-stirring” I have done.

Anonymous Also

Anonymous,
You must not have have any children in the 4 elementary schools or not have any friends who work in the elementary schools. Class sizes are going up in at least 3 elementary schools next year if the staffing is what PCSD is telling principals. When these elementary students are in the high school and not producing AMAZING scores the Administration will care then.

Two easy solutions:
1. Make a Spanish Dual Immersion School and a French Dual Immersion School. The other two elementary schools can be specific type or just traditional schools.

Or better yet…

Parleys, Jeremy and Trailside elementary schools must have at least 2 traditional classes in each grade level and 2 Dual Immersion classes. Dual Immersion classes have a number cut off, but traditional classes don’t at this time. Why is that? Plus, by third grade kids are dropping out of Dual Immersion which then adds to the traditional classes. Most “move ins” have to go to traditional classes as well. Makes no sense.

HL

I agree with Anonymous Also. I think that getting a hard guarantee from the district that there will always be a minimum of 2 non-DLI classes at the split model schools would be an important step in the right direction. As far as more radical change, I see the potential for both good and bad outcomes in moving to a magnet school model. However, I think the bad would probably outweigh the good in practice. DLI programs do come with specialized funds from the state and the ability to impose true limitations on class size. For those reasons I think it could be smart for all the schools move to 100% DLI like MPES.

Any

You’re the frog sitting in the boiling water. The pot is being stirred because the rest of us have had enough and are ready to get out. It’s hard for teachers to do their jobs when there are 30+ kids in a class.

Anonymous

Completely agree…parkrag likes to get everyone stirred up. I go elsewhere for real news and facts

Parkrag

Perhaps you can use any influence you may have with the Park City School District to get them to ACTUALLY TALK to local news sources. Then you would be able to get your news and real facts from them.

Thank you

Telling the truth is not stirring the pot. When those who don’t want to educate themselves about a topic or do, but don’t like what they learn, or don’t want anyone else revealing truth to others, they might resort to name-calling. It’s a smoke screen. Don’t allow someone to throw up a smoke screen to obscure truth. Park Rag is inquisitive, informative, and truthful. Thanks to Josh Mann for bringing an inquisitive mind and truth to relevant community issues.

Anonymous

My son’s class at Jeremy increased from 15 to 27 from 1st to 3rd grade. There is barely room to move in there let alone grab the attention and teach. “Regular” classes continue to grow as the DLI classes shrink and stay protected. The district needs to give all students an equal opportunity to learn and understand that DLI is an optional program. Overcrowding is a serious issue that is being swept under the rug. The promise of the 23:1 ratio is not true when they consider any adult in the building as a teacher.

Mercutio

PCSD is in crisis. Teachers and administrators are leaving because of the toxicity and the district is so mired in bureaucracy that it cannot make decisions efficiently or effectively. Many veterans are looking elsewhere because of the micromanagement and incompetence. Class sizes are one symptom of a dysfunctional institution.

Most of your teachers and admin are top notch folks. We are the ones who have been sounding the alarm about a superintendent who has presided over scandal after scandal. Where is the accountability? We need top level leadership change badly. A culture of fear reigns here and disinformation is the norm.

A plague is upon our school houses.

Tybalt

Mercutio, we agree. The superintendent and board are doing nothing but flouting and floundering. Gildea should have been fired inher first year after she failed to perform the most rudimentary functions expected of a new superintendent. She surely did swindle this board and town. Just like the last one. It’s a money-making racket, a magnet for people who wouldn’t be able to hold a job in any reputable company.

Park City residents haven’t been paying attention. PCSD is only rumored by out-of-staters to be a great school district. That rumor could not be further from the truth at this point. It’s going to take years to undo the damage and build up a new teacher base.

Step 1 for rebuilding is to fire Gildea and the board. Vote no confidence. Step 2, onboard capable managers who know how to collaborate with teachers and students. Step 3, pay teachers more than DO people in salary and benefits. Step 4, untangle and simplify education, including breaking down parasitic relationships and building symbiotic ones. Step 5, keep the community informed and engaged.

Best of luck, Park City.


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