Building Utilization Recommendations
On Tuesday night, the Salt Lake City Board of Education heard, for the first time, recommendations from the Salt Lake City School District’s Building Utilization Committee. This committee, made up of parents, teachers, principals, and administrators from across the district, was formed in September 2018. Prior to this, in 2017, the school district hired a professional school planning firm, Davis Demographics, to examine district enrollment trends and projections over the next several decades. Hiring a professional firm allowed our Board of Education and district leaders to have access to crucial data that will be used to make decisions about the Salt Lake City School District’s future.
The Building Utilization Committee began meeting monthly at the end of October 2018 before bringing recommendations to the Board of Education this week. During these four months of meetings, the committee reviewed current, past, and projected enrollment at all forty of our schools. They compared enrollment numbers to building capacity. They reviewed student demographics, academic achievement, staffing numbers, and the costs associated with operating schools with small enrollments. The committee had the following objectives.
- Analyze the capacity and usage of all SLCSD schools
- Assess the current physical state and potential of each school building
- Identify options and opportunities to address issues and improve equitable opportunities for the students we serve
- Report and present recommendations to the Board of Education
The committee found that while the district is seeing an overall decline in enrollment, the largest declines are in our elementary schools. With that declining enrollment, our need for teachers is also shrinking each year. They determined we have seven underutilized primary schools, six elementary schools and one K-8 school, and each of these schools has space to accommodate 250 or more students.
After reviewing all of this information and discussing what alternatives would best serve the needs of our students, the committee put forward three recommendations.
- Review the placement of 6th graders at Glendale Middle School (Glendale is the only middle school in our district that currently serves 6th grade students)
- Meet with elementary school principals to determine programming ideas
- Review school boundaries to accommodate the closing of one elementary school (the committee suggested Bennion Elementary for possible closure)
After hearing the report and the recommendations from the committee on Tuesday, the Board of Education directed the Superintendent to review the placement of 6th graders at Glendale Middle School and to begin meeting with elementary principals about programming ideas (for example, STEM or arts programs) that would better align each elementary school with its respective middle and high school networks.
With regard to addressing the third recommendation, our Board of Education will follow the process outlined in link to board policy and in its associated link to administrative procedures. These documents provide a clear outline for the next steps the district and the Board of Education will take in reviewing school boundaries. Those steps include gathering input from parents, families, students, schools, district employees, school community councils, and the public at large. This process will likely take the better part of a year and will provide plenty of time for feedback and data review for both the Board and the community. At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board of Education also asked to review relevant national research about the effects of a potential school closure on at-risk students.
We invite and encourage all stakeholders, community/neighborhood partners, and community members to review the link to PowerPoint and the process for our link to administrative procedures on our website.
We will use the district website, district website, and social media channels (SLCSD Facebook page, SLCSD Twitter feed) to inform the public about upcoming meetings related to the School Boundary Review process. And of course, members of the public are always welcome to speak during the public comment period of any Board of Education meeting. You can find a schedule of upcoming Board meetings Board of Education meeting schedule.