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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:

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.



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.


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?


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.


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.”


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!


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


For those who are curious, I ran through the budget from 2013 (10 years ago) and the proposed budget being presented today, and here’s the breakdown:

Students: 4630 in 2013, projected for 2023: 4490 (3% decline)

Teacher salaries: $15 million in 2013, $24 million for 2023 (60% increase)
Central administration salaries: $1 million in 2013, $2.6 million for 2023 (160% increase)

That’s a solid million bucks/8-10 new teachers or a dozen plus support staff we could have in the schools if the District Office salaries had tracked with the teachers.

To look at it another way, spending on teacher salaries is going to be unchanged next year – so we’re going to give everyone a raise but make up for it by laying off 5% of them. The district office, on the other hand, is handing themselves 9% more salary, which looks like both raises and more hiring.

We’re strangling ourselves with bureaucrats, and incompetent ones at that.


After watching last night’s board meeting video, it was clear to me that the district has a goal of 23 students or less in the elementary schools. It was also very clear that the district has a pretty sophisticated process in place to predict and monitor enrollment, and allocate resources appropriately to meet their goal. Taking a snapshot of a process in its early stages, and presenting that snapshot as a final outcome is “pot-stirring”. Time to draft your retraction.


Absolutely agree. Josh we are all waiting for your apology for stirring the pot and an updated article explaining the process as it was explained to you last night. It is the only responsible thing to do as a board candidate and as the author.


I still remember my sophomore honors English teacher, Ms. Leiderbrandt. We had a contentious relationship. I was immature, and she highly valued the language. It didn’t make for a positive experience for either of us. In hindsight, I wish I had been more kind at age 16.

However, I do recall that she often warned us to be aware of sweeping generalizations. She would say, anytime you invoke an argument that contains the word “everyone” or “all,” you should likely reconsider your statement. Given your choice of words, that may apply.

Furthermore, I appreciate your condescending tone. In your comments, I hear the echoes of responses our parents, teachers, staff members, and administrators say they receive from the district office when they ask questions and push for a better environment.

I guess I hope that you are a random community member that believes I am misguided and unfair to our school board and Superintendent. If you have been involved in the school district, I hope this isn’t the way you have communicated with parents, teachers, staff, or students.


Who is we? Please don’t speak on anyone else’s behalf. I don’t feel the need for an apology whatsoever. Josh, thank you for starting this paramount conversation.


Perhaps I don’t explain things well, but I think you have missed the point.

I first pleaded with parents to register their kids. Then I reported that teachers were worried about class sizes and that they felt the district office wasn’t listening. So, I spoke on behalf of teachers and asked parents to contact the district and share their feelings that small class sizes were paramount. It’s important that our public officials know that the public cares.

What I heard in yesterday’s meeting is:

  • The school district supports smaller class sizes
  • 1,700 existing families have not registered for schools for next year, and that makes planning hard
  • Teachers that were hired during Covid were told they would only be retained for a year, so it should come as no surprise to them that they are not being retained
  • There has never been a class size of more than 30 kids in a Park City Elementary Schools
  • Andrew Caplan guaranteed there would not be 30 or more students in a class this year
  • I said the public would welcome that the board guarantee class sizes of 24 or less
  • I received feedback from the board that they won’t guarantee 24 students or less per class
  • I was told multiple times that many Utah schools have more than 30 kids per class and we can’t expect Covid class sizes going forward
  • Todd Hauber and Dr. Gildea seemed to indicate that the district would hire more teachers in August if needed
  • I spoke with a school board member after the meeting who told me that hiring teachers in August is almost impossible

I also know from comments parents have sent me that many are not satisfied with the response they have received when contacting the district.

There is both a trust issue and a communication issue with the school district. The trust issue comes from both teachers and parents that they believe their classes will be large and nothing is going to be done about it. The communication issue is that there may be a reality about class sizes that hasn’t been communicated to the public effectively so that we can have a community discussion.

All that said, I don’t think I can retract anything. I can’t “retract” teachers feelings about their work environment. I can’t retract an encouragement to parents to talk with the schools, especially in light of the district not communicating effectively. I can’t retract the call for ensuring our class sizes are small when the plan is to fire teachers now and hire in August if needed.

I will reiterate that parents should register their kids for next year. That is important to planning.

I will continue to encourage the school district to spend money on teachers and aides that make our student’s education better. I will advocate for smaller class sizes in Park City — even if a school in Draper has 40 kids in a class.

I have high expectations.

That said, if next August we have class sizes of 24 or less in every elementary class, I will personally congratulate the district on a job well done (I may even send chocolates). If we have classes nearing 30 students, I will continue advocating for better outcomes for our teachers and students. If I hear that a single class has 30 or more students then I will consider that a complete breach of trust.

This isn’t politics as usual or some game. Every day that a student spends in our schools is a day that shapes their future. We need to get it right.

Hopeful Parent

Thanks Park Rag,
I watched the meeting last night. I do give Andrew Caplin kudos for questioning the new administration jobs and if they are really needed or how can the district be mindful of these positions.

I also hope he stays true to his word on class size.

Here are a few thoughts in response to your take aways from Tuesday nights meeting.

There has never been a class size of more than 30 kids in a Park City Elementary Schools

****There are classes that are 3 or 4 way from 30 this year at some schools, and that is only because some new students were put in DLI.

Andrew Caplan guaranteed there would not be 30 or more students in a class this year

******As of right now, if all traditional 4th graders at TSES return next year it will be a class of 36, and right now there is only 1 traditional 5th grade teacher scheduled. This is a very high needs class as well.

I said the public would welcome that the board guarantee class sizes of 24 or less
I received feedback from the board that they won’t guarantee 24 students or less per class

******* There must be a way to stop looking at the “number” and look at the make up of some classes. 24 in a traditional classroom is different than 24 in a DLI class much of the time.
****** At the board meeting they said there wouldn’t be a class of 12 kids they said that is not a good idea. I would say it depends on the 12 kids in that class. 12 might be an amazing size for many students who are struggling academically, socially and emotionally. PCSD might be surprised by the gains the 12 kids make in a class that size.

I was told multiple times that many Utah schools have more than 30 kids per class and we can’t expect Covid class sizes going forward

******* PCSD has always boasted how they are not like many Utah schools, so ….. yeah we better not have class sizes that large.

Todd Hauber and Dr. Gildea seemed to indicate that the district would hire more teachers in August if needed
I spoke with a school board member after the meeting who told me that hiring teachers in August is almost impossible

****** Teachers who are not hired in August for teaching jobs already are usually the teachers that didn’t get offered teaching jobs….. that means you MIGHT have teachers who need more guidance, aren’t going to be as effective, and will usually not make it past a year in PCSD… then we start all over again.

******* As I stated before, there has got to be a way for PCSD to look at the make up of classes, what kids will be in the class, what the needs are for the students in the class.

Park City School District is student centered with a focus and emphasis on the WHOLE CHILD – our students are safe, SUPPORTED, engaged, challenged and HEALTHY.


You sound like a kid scrambling for an excuse after getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar. A simple apology would have been fine.

Knock It Off, Missy & Anonymous

To Anonymous and Missy – You aren’t interested in this subject matter or you would contribute real information. Demanding an apology from someone who opened the topic up for discussion and continues to engage when there’s no other avenue for it without getting your head bitten off by Andrew Caplan is ridiculous on its face. Let me guess, you’re a district cheerleader with pom-poms out no matter what. They could shoot you on 5th avenue and get away with it and the last words from your lips would be, “I love you, PCSD, where are my pom-poms?” Am I right?

Fact: Communication from PCSD is weak at best and threatening at worst.
Fact: Facts and figures from PCSD are typically alluded to in Board meetings, but press for the source and you get no further.
Fact: A lot of our teachers have left and are actively looking for other jobs due to an unacceptable level of dissatisfaction with this district.
Fact: Class sizes are a factor in the quality of education.
Fact: Retaining excellent teachers is a factor in the quality of education.
Fact: Having excellent or poor leadership is a factor in the quality of education.
Fact: Leadership does not care why teachers are leaving, regardless of what they say in Board meetings. If they cared, they would use the tools they have at their disposal to learn, to address warning signs, to change course on decisions causing problems, and to be the leaders people can be honored to work for.
Fact: PCSD has been slipping downward in ratings for years. Gildea has only contributed to the slide.
Fact: There is an active investigation into why allegations of rape and child molestation in PCSD were not reported to the police. “Where are my pom-poms?”
Fact: PCSD still refuses to talk to the media to disperse information relevant to parents and the community.
Fact: School taxes will only increase and this Board does not appear to care by how much.
Fact: When I asked for class size numbers from the district office a number of years ago when it was a hot topic then, I was given lower numbers from the district office than from the source at each of the elementary schools. Sources at the elementary schools had updated rosters right there at their desks. Guess who I trusted more?
Fact: PCSD serves the public and owes the public.
Fact: The PCSD website is outdated and does not contain all the information it should have for it to serve parents and the community, taxpayers. Why? Don’t we have a number of very well-compensated IT employees who know a thing or two about web performance?

You want to argue with the Park Rag about any of the op-eds? Go forth and educate yourself, then share what you learned with the rest of us, instead of wantonly throwing darts.

You want “Fact’ sources listed in this comment? As the Board would respond: the information is out there. Go find it.

Maybe I sound angry or frustrated or unhappy to you? Feel free to judge and call yourself Christian while you do it. I couldn’t care less. Education, real education, is more important than you. It is the backbone of any decent society. Our local society is fraught with data deniers no less than our entire nation is. It baffles me why anyone would claim righteous indignation and demand an apology because another wants to have a conversation and learn what the hell is really going on. We can thank our lucky stars that the Park Rag is authentic, real, honest, and engaging at a time when the opposite is true of PCSD.

You want to claim PCSD is great? Have at it. You would be incorrect, though. PCSD could be great. I urge you to step into the problems and try to help fix them like so many others who have volunteered, substitute taught, or otherwise become familiar with our teachers, students, and other parents. Get into all the schools and do something. Learn. Find out what’s up, what’s amiss, what needs to be fixed, how education for our kids here in Park City can be made better. Then maybe your feet will have grounding and your words, merit.

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