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Superintendent's Message 2019-04-11

Dear SLCSD community,

The last few weeks have been packed with important issues, and I am proud of the steps we have taken to improve Salt Lake City School District and the services we offer our students.

The first couple of weeks of March were the closing days of this year’s legislative session. While we are still reviewing and analyzing all the changes made to education law, the results are generally positive. Lawmakers approved an increase in the state’s Weighted Pupil Unit, the basic funding mechanism for public education. Our efforts to become more involved in the Inland Port are gaining traction. The Inland Port will have lasting effects on the city and its tax base. It is vital that SLCSD be part of the process. I wish to thank our Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations, Yándary Chatwin, and our Board Members for their visits to Capitol Hill and their work on behalf of our district and your students.

This past month, we were deeply saddened by the death of long-time Board Member Heather Bennett. Her sudden passing left a hole that cannot be completely filled. During her time on the Board, Ms. Bennett was instrumental to many of the Board’s key achievements. She was passionate about early childhood education and early literacy, and about expanding academic programs like the Extended Learning Program and many other initiatives that benefitted SLCSD students.

In accordance with state law, we moved quickly and respectfully to fill the vacancy Ms. Bennett’s death left on the Board of Education. Just this week, the Board met with and interviewed candidates to fill that position. During its public meeting on Tuesday, the Board appointed Samuel Bennett Hanson, Heather Bennett’s son, to serve the remainder of her term. Mr. Hanson is an alumnus of the Salt Lake City School District, having graduated from West High School and attended Lowell Elementary.

Lastly, I am proud to say SLCSD has signed a new contract with the Salt Lake City Police for School Resource Officers. The contract calls for placement of school resource officers at all middle and high schools. The contract calls for creation of an oversight committee that will publish a yearly report that includes a review of school-based diversions, arrests, and interventions. It also creates a mechanism for community members to raise concerns and a means to review them. 

As you can see, we’ve been quite busy, and I don’t expect things will slow down as we approach the end of the school year. Thank you for your support and most of all for your support our students.

Yours in education,
Dr. Lexi Cunningham

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