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Why does the Park City School District have such bad luck?

Wow. A lot of bad things seem to happen to the Park City School District.

It started with a magic rock that somehow broke the Superintendent’s kitchen window but didn’t break the window’s screen. This act of dark magic forced school board members, against their will, to chastise the community for its hatefulness.

Then some of our best teachers were not able to understand why it was a terrible idea for their kids to go to the same school where their parents taught. This caused some of them to leave and others to lose trust. More bad luck.

Then PCSD teachers who live out of the district became so mentally challenged that they couldn’t comprehend why there may be issues enrolling their kids in Park City schools.

Then the district got blindsided by the Covid mask mandates at Parley’s and wasn’t even able to communicate properly due to the stress. It made the district feel even more mistreated when the Health Department had to teach people at Parley’s Park Elementary how to wear masks.

Then KPCW, the local NPR station, was mean to the school district with the questions it asked and what it reported. The only mature recourse the school district had was to stop talking to the radio station.

Then some employees made the Park City School District look really bad by not reporting allegations of child rape and abuse. I’m sure the district felt even more like a victim when the police and sheriff had to teach their employees how to tell the appropriate people if a kid says their penis was touched by a school employee.

After that, Summit County got really angry with the district and wouldn’t allow them to build whatever they wanted without permits. That has to be a real distraction for the people trying to do God’s work. Then, Summit County had the gall to offer Park City Schools a temporary permit to make Jeremy Ranch safe for opening. What is the County trying to do? Are they trying to make the school district feel bad? There’s no way the school district should even speak to Summit County after that. See KPCW.

Most recently, we found out on Saturday that the teachers’ daycare is being shut down. Only 19 teachers used the daycare, so it probably won’t matter. We have no communication from Park City Schools on this, but who can blame the district? They are dealing with a lot of stuff right now. So, we have to assume that it is either that construction at the high school made it hard to provide, lack of funding caused it to shut down, or perhaps the devil made the daycare close. I’m sure the district couldn’t have seen this coming and had absolutely no warning. If they knew, they wouldn’t wait to announce this until three days before the school year starts. I mean, it could have impacted whether those 19 teachers looked for work elsewhere, but that wouldn’t happen at Park City Schools — not even in a teacher shortage.

There is only one conclusion to draw. The Park City Schol District is damned. It is cursed. The deck is stacked against it. I can come to no other conclusion. Naysayers might say that you reap the crop you sow, but that is totally unfair. Park City School District is doing God’s work. For proof, see what I said above.

If I were advising the top levels of the Park City School District, I would say one thing. GET OUT. This is a cursed ship. If you are Dr. Gildea, you have no control over these things. So, the best bet is to find a greener pasture.

I would say a similar thing to the school board. They get paid almost nothing and get nothing but harassment. They don’t need this. Park City is second only to Aspen with the number of board positions a resident can apply for. There are better alternatives. Let other fools try to make this school district successful.

If you are a parent, you probably don’t want to sell your house in this market. So, you’ll have to hope that you can deal with Park City High School being the 21st-ranked public high school in Utah. Batten the hatches, though, because the rankings seem to be going down — due to the curse, of course.

The Park City’s school district seems to be damned. We are like the Monkey’s Paw. We have all the wishes in the world, but each one of them goes bad.

Here’s hoping that this year is the year we beat the curse — but don’t count on it. Rumor has it that the District Office is built on a Native American burial ground.



Damien's Prayer

What about all the little things that happened to PCSD that JG and AC never imagined?

Teachers running out of cleaning supplies. Why did they go out and spend their own money for more, when the kids should have brought their own? The district can’t be expected to clean up after these monsters.

Speaking of monsters, students are watching too many Stranger Things episodes. That show is possessing kids to bully each other in school and scratch swastikas everywhere. Turn off the cell! What is the district supposed to do about that? They can’t be expected to staff common areas or hire an exorcist at every school.

The board gave teachers a raise, but instead of being grateful for it, the teachers were forced to read the threatening predated letter. That letter was never intended to happen! No one knows how it got there! R.F.I. Such bad luck.
All the board members are angels, invisibly doing the heavy lifting and hard work. That’s why employees don’t know what they look like.

The teachers griped because the board told them to talk only through their representatives. How ungrateful! It’s like the gargoyles perched on the district building fell asleep on the job and armed teachers with opinions instead of guarding the DO! Breaking with all the bad luck, MM came to the rescue and delivered any unsavory morsels with sweet chocolate candy sprinkles! She’s doing God’s work, too.

A survey went out to PCSD from some people who called themselves stakeholders, but gremlins got into the system and mucked up the results. It said employees know board members lie about stuff and don’t run the district very well. JG gets paid too much and does too little. No one ever communicates. You can tell gremlins did it because PCSd knows all the stakeholders. They come to the parties. Some of them even bring wine (that JC turns to water sometimes just for fun)!

Teachers are always the last to know, but really? They can always ask students. They’re surrounded by these little creatures who seem to know everything. It’s like they have ears on the backs of their heads. Wait. They do! That’s it! Teachers can learn anything the DO is thinking just by asking the nearest kid, so why blame anyone else? It’s their own fault for not asking.

Who cares if JG knew about the child care center problems last June? It’s not her fault. They aren’t her kids. PCSD doesn’t pay anybody there. Everyone wants to blame the person making the most money for everything! Like she’s the one who’s supposed to know what’s going on and do something about it! A ba duh, JG is the window and Park City is the rock!

I wish the clouds would part already and let people see how great PCSD really is without all the stormy data and foreshadowy info-ference.


My wife and I were discussing this recently and I was struck by the realization that the old William Buckley quote (about preferring any random person from the phonebook to most elected politicians) is applicable here.

Someone had to *decide* to deny teacher’s kids enrollment. Someone had to *decide* to fire all the subs and have a temp agency handle it (and then decide not to reverse the decision when it backfired), someone had to *decide* not to enforce the mask mandate. And so on.

Doing *nothing* would have been better than the decisions the board and super make. Having some random person from the phonebook make the decisions would certainly be better.

I’m on the outside looking in now, but there is no schadenfreude – I hate to see a great place like Park City getting ruined by incompetent asshats. The loss of the daycare really sucks; it’s death by 1000 cuts with these folks.

It’s tough for public schools everywhere, and that’s what they’ll certainly say to avoid blame. But you’re a rich and (supposedly) smart community. Y’all should be able to do better.


Walt, I agree with everything you wrote, except that last thing. We shouldn’t be able to do better than this because we haven’t, and we don’t intend to. There’s nothing in Park City that screams, “We’re better than this.” We aren’t. We aren’t more intelligent than your average demographic, either. If we were, we would not have stood by and allowed someone about as dumb as a stone keep the positions at the top of our education system and watch her and them burn it down.

Keep Smiling

Josh, I usually like your articles, but I think you should fact-check this one. The daycare at the high school is not a district program and the district had nothing to do with its closing. The daycare is a non-profit that the district has allowed to use the space rent-free for many years. While I sympathize with the teachers who now have to scramble to find daycare, this is the world we live in. Many families all over the county are left to figure out what to do with their children while they work. Yes, it was a perk for teachers as they were given first priority and paid a lower cost, I believe over $1,000 a month per child, but it is in no way sponsored or a program of the district. I understand they are closing due to staffing and staff wanting more pay. This again is a nationwide problem, not unique to Park City. Maybe the daycare should have talked to the parents to try and figure out a solution before announcing the closing in September. To lump this unfortunate event in with all of the others you have listed is not cool.


Hi, Keep Smiling. Fair enough, and thanks for the comment.

I think this is a tough one. As I keep reading conflicting reports about what really went down, I wondered whether to include this. However, I really do think this fits. Why did this happen three days before school started? Maybe it was just bad luck — and not the bad luck I was poking fun at in the story. I mean, real unfortunate luck.

However, if you read the KPCW article, that quotes the daycare center board member Danielle Hall it says, “It (daycare center) will be torn down soon during new construction, and district hasn’t announced what future child care services will look like. Hall wrote that has fueled uncertainty and led employees to find work elsewhere.”

So, if that board member is correct that lack of communication by the school district about replacing the daycare center and its future fueled uncertainty with employees, is that completely outside of the school district’s control? Or is it another in a long line of little (sometimes) subtle actions that the school district takes (or doesn’t take) that contributes to bad situations.

Sometimes you make your own bad luck. In the case of the school district, recently, they have repeatedly made their own bad luck. So, I have a hard time giving them the benefit of the doubt on this one.

I know other folks will give them a pass on this one and that’s OK. Either way it really sucks for those teachers and other parents who are going to be left high and dry. I hope they can find alternatives. In the long run, the school district better find an alternative because lack of daycare is going to inhibit recruiting and retention.

Anyhow, thanks again for the comment.


The reason the daycare at the highschool could offer those lower rates is because the district provided the space for little to no rent, with the agreement that spots went to teachers first. Without the subsidized space the daycare cannot operate at rates teachers can afford. The district did not communicate with the daycare or make any plans for its continued existence even though they had plenty of lead time and knew damn well what would happen to their employees without it. Enrollment is down. There are empty classrooms across the district. Hell, there’s a spacious and well appointed Jeremy Ranch home that OUGHT to be unoccupied during the school day 😉 They could have solved this in May and spent the summer relocating. The daycare certainly has its imperfections and larger economic circumstances are in play, but the district is not blameless here.

She Knew

Dr. Gildea knew about the CCC troubles back in June when she failed to reply to emails. PCSD has no excuse. No excuse.

Feature not a bug?

She’s probably glad to see it go. Fewer people who are parents will apply to bother her by working for her while also having children. I’m sure all those single, childless, independently wealthy replacements will be beating down her door with resumés any day now. Clear win win :/

Kathy B.

Does anyone know why Jill Gildea has this job? She does nothing, but she has a free house to pick her nose in, a nice office to pick her nose in, a nice car to pick her nose in, and super expensive trash cans to toss the Kleenex. Park City residents are paying her $400,000 to sit around and perpetuate chaos by intentionally doing nothing and deny she has a damn thing to do with it. The Superintendent of Park City School District is the one and only person responsible for delegating operations. WTAF, Park City? WTAF?

Why do we settle PC?

I wish people cared enough to see that the Superintendent does not care. Public education is a caring profession. It just is. We all know that going in. You will never get rich doing in, but we all know that going in as well.

Here’s the deal, the Superintendent DOES.NOT.CARE. That’s it. She collects a lofty paycheck and again, doesn’t care and will not care. She doesn’t care about teachers, support staff, parents, even her own principals. She probably cares what the board thinks of her. If that’s ok with the you, then you don’t care either.

This article uses humor to point out all of the evidence that keeps telling us that she’s here for a paycheck. End of story.

Is that good enough for the children of PC?

Side bar: Josh, when are you going to report on the exodus of teachers and support staff?


I know it’s a little off topic but oh well. Why does the district own housing and a company car for the superintendent and not for the international teachers?! Dr. Gildea is the highest paid public employee in the county. She does not need housing support. She can easily afford Park City rents and a car payment. The international folks the district bring in for a year or two cannot afford it and the district doesn’t have anything for them. They rely on (wonderful) community volunteers to somehow find an affordable place in an increasingly unaffordable market.

School has started and there are STILL dual language teachers looking for housing! Are your kids in DLI? Well, their teachers might be homeless right now. Let that sink in for a minute.

The board could sell the house and use that money to buy half a dozen small condos for this specific group who really actually do need employee housing. As a taxpayer I would rather see my money spent on putting a roof over a teacher’s head than on welfare for the wealthy.

Why do we settle, PC?

That is a great idea. Housing here is almost untouchable. Veteran teachers, who have homes, are jumping ship leaving vacancies that won’t be filled. Meanwhile That Superintendent is never leaving, even if she had to pay rent. She can’t manage seven schools! She surrounds herself with many high paid administrators to do what others before her had to do. Why would she leave? She doesn’t lead teachers or principals, she doesn’t talk to the tax payers or parents. She has others do it for her. Furthermore, she’ll thrown her own principals under the bus to cover her poor decision making. She’s incompetent and at the very top in terms of pay. Things are only going to get worse. This “bad luck” aka the worst management PCSD has ever seen will continue until people wise up and demand better.

Sammi Y.

The biggest truth here is the title of this site—“Rag” says it all. Park City parents should look to actual journalists. (And common sense wouldn’t hurt either, Kathy B.)


You mean like KPCW, or, well, any other journalists? Oh, wait, the district won’t talk to them because they’re so mean…

If you think any of what’s here is inaccurate, I’m sure everyone would love to hear some specifics.


I can begin with one of the issues that someone wrote about in the comments above— the district did not run that daycare center.


I’ve been getting a lot of feedback on that paragraph, and perhaps I didn’t write it clearly. No the school district doesn’t run the daycare center. They provided the space. It is KNOWN as the district daycare center but it isn’t run by the district. Yet, it is another in a long line of bad things that have happened that impact the district. You don’t need to look any further than the Park Record article on the subject that says:

* “Gildea said district leaders continue working with Ashley Baer, the director of the childcare center, and Hall to find solutions.”

* “The uncertainty over how the School District will continue childcare services has led some center staff to accept job offers elsewhere, Hall said.”

* “Without any assistance (financial or other) from the District, the Center cannot be kept afloat while following state safety guidelines beyond a 9/19/22 closure date”

* “She [Hall] said the childcare center can remain on-site if supplemental funding is secured from the School District.

So, did Dr. Gildea have some maniacal plan to shut down the daycare that a bunch of teachers use and is housed on PCSD property? No.

However, could they have done something about it?

If the district can do something about it now, they could have done it before. Perhaps it’s not critical, and it doesn’t matter to the school district. Fair enough. Say that, if it is true.

But the fact that many teachers used the daycare, that it is housed on PCSD property, there appear to be things that could solve the problem, and it shut down is enough for me to say, “yes, this is another example where bad things seem to happen to PCSD.”


Marshall Applewhite and his Heaven’s Gate minions.


We need an infusion of intelligent leaders with business sense and experience in the PC school district. Vote out the incumbents. Vote for Nick Hill and Meredith Reed.


Hah! And now all the other projects are on hold because they didn’t submit paperwork to the state!

Unreal. If I was even peripherally involved I’d resign, but Then again I have some semblance of a sense of shame.


From the players on the pcsd stage: there are way more issues than this article mentions…

Anyone who is genuinely involved in pcsd knows the decision making problems are at the highest leadership levels. Certain members of the board specifically carry the brunt of the blame. The constant problems with decision making also emanate from Dr. Gildea and the notorious Dr. Hunt. Unfortunately the damage that has been done will last for years. It is common knowledge that no one can trust the DO (with a few exceptions), for a sycophantic culture of fear, ineptitude, and cowardice reigns.

But this is not the whole story. 99.99% of our educators, staff, and building administrators are excellent people who have dedicated their lives to a greater good. And we succeed in spite of the incompetence of our highest leadership. We are growing tired of the bullshit from our board and super, and too many irreplaceable people have left. Most of which agonized over their decisions.

The community has an incredible opportunity to change the culture of the board and therefore the DO. Vote the bums out, and when the big-bearded, bigmouth bully’s turn comes, vote him out too! Though given his appalling behavior he should be forced to resign- to the benefit of the entire city.

Only then can we get this train back on the track to glory.



Your comment encapsulates it nicely. A lot of us are appalled that Dr. Gildea still has a job here and the big-bearded bigmouth still has a cult following. Are Parkites smart enough to read the writing on the wall? The Park City School District is reaching for the bottom of the barrel.

We won’t attract and retain teachers until these people are long gone and the culture is flipped on its ass. The board and district office, with a few exceptions, are filth. I’d call them idiots, but they are smart enough to suckle off taxpayer teats in a system most taxpayers choose to ignore. The education system–where the money flows into Dr. Gildea’s pockets like Seattle rain and the board gets high on power.

If Parkites only knew the half of the damage done, they would be shocked into action. If Dr. Gildea were a medical doctor, I wouldn’t let her trim my toenails. She’s the ice berg. The board is the Titanic. I hope students and teachers are strong swimmers.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”
― Albert Einstein


It is a s— show.
The better Catholic Schools in Salt Lake (MCS, Cosgriff, Vincents, St. John) all have waitlists and there are PCSD kids on every one of them.

I think you should look into Carolyn Synan’s history. how she came to leave SLCSD for PCSD. How she has been favored and promoted. There’s another story worthy of a blog post.


What’s the story?!

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