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Board Meeting Report - February 21, 2023

The Board of Education of Salt Lake City School District (the Board) held its latest public meeting on Tuesday, February 21, 2023. The meeting began with a recognition of five district teachers who recently renewed their National Board Certification - Jill Buchsbaum,  Alison EspinosaCarrie JohnsonMary Lou Oland-Wong, and Todd Vawdrey. The meeting continued with the agenda items below. (You can watch the entire meeting on the district’s YouTube channel.)

Superintendent Search

Richard Stowell, Executive Director of the Utah School Boards Association (USBA), spoke to the Board about the assistance USBA can offer the Board as they look to hire a new superintendent. USBA’s support comes at no cost to our Board. In the last two superintendent searches, the Board has hired a national search firm to help find a new superintendent. This time, the Board will use the services of USBA. USBA is currently engaged in finding superintendents for several other Utah districts and has years of experience in finding qualified candidates for superintendencies across the state. In recent years, USBA has assisted in the hiring of superintendents in the Granite, Jordan, Alpine, Tooele, and Davis School Districts.

Superintendent Bates handed out a printed copy of the results from the recent superintendent search survey and said the district will look to the survey results to create a brochure advertising the superintendent position and to help inform the Board about what the community believes are important superintendent qualities and priorities. The proposed timeline shows the brochure will be completed by the end of February or early March, and applications will be accepted throughout the month of March. In April, a committee, comprised of stakeholders appointed by Board members, will review and rank the applications from their perspectives and share their evaluations with the Board. The Board will review committee rankings as well as the applications themselves and will then invite candidates for interviews prior to making their ultimate decision. Interviews will also take place in April, with the goal of appointing a new superintendent in May. The new superintendent will officially begin by July 1, 2023.

Board and Board Leadership Evaluations

Mr. Stowell also reviewed a tool USBA uses to help school boards across the state evaluate themselves and their work. He said this tool can be customized to meet the specific needs of the Board. Board members were grateful for the offer and decided that in future meetings they would further review and discuss how to best evaluate the work of the Board and Board leadership. 

Retreat Planning

Board leadership started a discussion about the next Board retreat by presenting a list of possible topics that could be on the agenda for the next retreat. Board members will review the list and their calendars and look to schedule a retreat in the fall after the new superintendent has started.

Report on Feasibility Studies

The district’s Executive Director of Auxiliary Services provided a report on the recent feasibility studies looking at the future of Highland High School and West High School. He highlighted the study process and the dozens of meetings between the architects and the community, including three public meetings for each school and meetings with school employees and students. The report listed details of the options created by the architects and the estimated cost of each option. The Board expressed appreciation for the extensive work done by the architecture teams and district leaders and indicated that a final decision on either school will not be made for some time.

2023-24 Student Fee Schedule

The district’s Executive Director of Policy and Legal Service reported on the proposed fee schedule for the 2023-24 school year. The report included a list of the proposed fee changes and a review of the steps the Board of Education must take before approving any changes. During the two Board meetings in March, the public will be able to make comments on the proposed fee schedule. The meetings will be advertised in multiple ways to ensure the public knows about this opportunity.