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Board Meeting Report - January 10, 2023

This week’s Board of Education meeting was a busy one, covering several topics. You can view the entire Board meeting on our YouTube channel.

Annual Comprehensive Financial Report

The district is audited each year to ensure it is using tax dollars in compliance with state and federal law. The audit for the 2021-22 school year looked at overall district financial records, as well as spending on state programs and federal programs. The audit was clean, meaning there were no questions or findings of improper spending.

Strategic Plan for Student Achievement

The Board heard a report on the latest work on the Strategic Plan for Student Achievement. This comprehensive plan will guide the district’s work for the next few years and is almost finished. It will come back to the Board of Education for review next month, and in March, Board members will be able to approve the plan or recommend changes.  

Legislative Audit

The Legislative Auditor General conducted an audit of the district, different and separate from the financial audit mentioned above, during the first several months of 2022. (The legislature is currently in the process of auditing every school district in Utah. Weber School District was done recently, and Park City School District will be next.) This audit came back with 17 recommendations – two for the Utah Legislature, five for the Salt Lake City Board of Education, and ten for the district. In a report to the Board, district leaders reviewed the recommendations and outlined the district’s plans for responding to its ten recommendations. Board members also expressed their commitment to address the five recommendations directed to them.  

Population and Demographic Study

After reviewing district schools and student enrollment for over a year, district leadership reported to the Board of Education on the next steps in reviewing possible boundary changes or school closures. The report included demographic information for Salt Lake City and district schools, with projections showing a continuing decline in the number of children in the city and district schools. The report looked at what national research says is the ideal minimum size for high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools to offer the best educational opportunities for students. It also included a review of Salt Lake City School District Board Policy G-5: District Reconfigurations & Long-Term School Closures.

Superintendent Bates emphasized that while there are many numbers and factors to consider when making changes to schools, the overall focus needs to remain on what is best for our students. Following the timeline outlined in Board Policy G-5, he plans to bring the Board a list of schools in February to study for possible boundary realignment and/or closure. The list will include schools in clusters or groups, because we know that a change at one school will also impact neighboring schools. The overall process will take more than a year and will include many chances for public comment and community meetings.   

Superintendent Search

The interim superintendent presented a proposed timeline in the search for hiring a new superintendent, with a target hiring date of May 2, 2023. Before then, he says there are several items to accomplish, including a community survey, creating and distributing a brochure and application, setting up committees to review applications, and more. He suggested that a representative from the Utah School Boards Association could visit the Board next month to explain how that group could help.

District Calendars

The Executive Director of Human Resource Services presented the recommended district calendars for the next three school years. As part of the calendar process, three options for each year were created, sent out to schools for review by employees and parents, and then schools voted for their favorite option. The Board decided to make a slight adjustment to the 2023-24 calendar to better balance the days off before and after the major holidays during Winter Recess. After making that small change, the Board approved the district calendars for 2023-24, 2024-25, 2025-26. The new calendars are available on the district website.