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Board Meeting Report - February 7, 2023

The Board of Education of Salt Lake City School District (the Board) met on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. The meeting began with a recognition of February as National Black History Month and continued with the agenda items below. (You can watch the full Board meeting on our YouTube channel.)

MTSS Update

The Multi-tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) update was a review of the work done this year in the areas of MTSS, social and emotional learning (SEL), and safe schools. All district schools are implementing SEL strategies each week, and the district has eight behavior specialists who work to help support improvements in student behavior. The latest safe school data was shared with the Board, including the number of safe school incidents. It was reported that every school will have a full threat assessment team by the beginning of next school year.

Debt & Capital Budget

The Business Administrator will review sections of the district budget during Board meetings for the next few months. This week’s report was a review of our debt management and capital budget. The capital budget is the money we use to maintain our buildings and grounds. It included a look at the district’s 5-year plan for school maintenance and repairs and a detailed plan for the 2023-24 school year. These plans are created as district buildings and maintenance crews inspect our buildings and work with principals each year.   

School Budget Allocations

The school budget report projected how much money will be allocated to each school for the next year and reviewed the allocations for this year. While school costs like utilities, maintenance, and most staffing and supply expenses are paid by district budgets, each school has resources to spend on priorities set by school improvement councils, school community councils, and principals. These allocations are distributed based on enrollment and can be adjusted if enrollment changes significantly during the year.

Population and Boundary Study

The Board is currently engaged in a Population and Boundary Study. There is great agreement that at least three teachers per grade level in elementary schools provides optimal opportunities for children and families, while stabilizing teaching assignments and professional development for teachers. On Tuesday, the Board approved a recommendation from Superintendent Bates and his Cabinet to study ALL district elementary schools, divided by quadrants, for possible boundary realignment or school closure. The directive to study all elementary schools may be surprising, but we know a change in one school community may impact neighboring schools. It’s important for the district and Board to take all factors into consideration when making decisions that may lead to possible boundary changes or possible school closures.

Per Board Policy G-5, this careful process spans two school years. Over the next few months, our new Director of Boundaries and Planning will meet with school community councils, principals, and others, and receive input from community members and stakeholders as they examine the “study list,” which consists of all district elementary schools. The Options Committee will bring options and potential solutions to the Board, and there will be open houses and opportunities for public comment in the fall. A decision could be taken by the Board in December 2023 or January 2024.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Superintendent reported on enrollment at Salt Lake Virtual Elementary, the district’s online elementary school pilot project, and the resources dedicated to that school. He also told Board members about strong interest from community members in a fourth, comprehensive district high school in the Glendale area. The Board approved recommendations from the Superintendent and his Cabinet to provide notice that the Salt Lake Virtual Elementary School might not continue operations beyond the 2022-23 school year and to inform the public of opportunities to comment. The Board also approved the recommendation to study the fiscal and population viability of a fourth comprehensive high school in the Glendale area.

Strategic Plan for Student Success

The Board reviewed edits to the Strategic Plan for Student Success, which outlines goals and action steps to increase student achievement over the next five years. It has been developed with input from district administrators, employees, students, and parents. The plan will be finalized and brought back to the Board for final approval next month.

Board Committee Assignments

Board members discussed recent changes made to the list of Board assignments to serve on various community committees. Board leadership reminded Board members that changes can be made whenever necessary.