While the distribution of staff cuts may change, the district plans to trim the equivalent of 42 full-time teachers due to declining enrollment.
(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kim Dean works with students in her seventh grade science class at Nibley Park School in 2017. Due to declining enrollment, Nibley Park would have been one of the schools hit hardest — losing the equivalent of 4.5 full-time teachers — if Salt Lake City School District had followed its staffing formula. Instead, the board voted to suspend the formula. District staff have proposed cutting two positions at Nibley, but that number is not final.
| Feb. 7, 2022, 7:11 p.m.
Elementary schools in Salt Lake City School District are likely to bear the brunt of staffing cuts as enrollment numbers drop, according to a proposal obtained Monday by The Salt Lake Tribune.
The cuts are being prompted by the district’s staffing ratios, which establish how many teachers it employs based on the number of students in a school. Those formulas, which vary by grade level, would have required the loss of the equivalent of 76.5 full-time educators next year. Instead, the school board last week approved a proposal to vary from the ratios and cut 42 positions instead.
The locations of the proposed cuts are not final. Board president Melissa Ford said she wanted to give district staff the opportunity to talk with individual schools and potentially revise the specific cuts set out in a proposal by Human Resources Executive Director Logan Hall.
Ford said she didn’t have enough information to “feel comfortable with what the reduction is to, and I’m hoping you can continue talking to us about that. … I’m a little uncomfortable just adopting it as it is.”
The Salt Lake Tribune requested the document Tuesday and, after a spokesperson declined to release it, filed a public records request for it Wednesday. The district released it Monday. District staff had provided copies to school board members at their Tuesday meeting.
District superintendent Timothy Gadson suggested that Leeson Taylor, the district’s executive director of school leadership and performance, and other area directors work with principals to evaluate each school’s needs for providing basic education, to potentially revise Hall’s proposal.
Had the board not decided to waive the staffing ratios, Indian Hills Elementary and Nibley Park Elementary would have been the hardest hit, with Indian Hills losing five positions and Nibley Park losing 4.5.
Instead, in Hall’s proposal, Indian Hills was slated to lose 2.5 positions, still the most of any elementary school, and seven elementaries were scheduled to lose two positions, including Nibley Park.
The staffing ratios would have meant cuts at every elementary school except for the new Salt Lake Virtual program. Under Hill’s proposal, Bennion, Ensign, Escalante and Washington would maintain current staffing.
Every middle school in the district was slated to lose staffing as well. Clayton and Glendale middle schools would have both lost four positions, but under Hall’s proposal, they’d both lose two. Hillside would lose half of a position, after being scheduled to lose one, while Northwest will lose one position instead of 1.5.
Hall’s proposed cut at Bryant remains in line with the district’s staffing ratios — losing one full-time teacher.
The cuts at East and West high schools are not alleviated by Hall’s recommendation. East would lose two full-time positions and West would lose three. Hall said during the board meeting Tuesday that it’s not uncommon for high schools to fluctuate by two to four positions a year.
Highland High School is the only school in the district that would receive additional staff in the 2022-23 academic year. The school would add two employees under Hall’s plan.
— The Salt Lake Tribune will update this developing story.
HOW SALT LAKE CITY STAFFS ITS SCHOOLS
The district has staffing ratios that govern how many teachers are hired, based on the number of students attending. The formulas are based on full-time equivalents, meaning two teachers who each work half-time are one FTE.
The ratios provide:
• One FTE for every 30.2 high school students.
• One FTE for every 28 students in grades 4-8.
• One FTE for every 25 students in grades 1-3.
• One FTE for every 50 kindergarten students.
The school board has voted to suspend these ratios for the 2022-23 academic year.