Park City’s ambitious preschool expansion approved

Park City School District's initiative aims to make early education affordable and accessible to every 4-year-old in the district

PARK CITY, Utah — The Park City School District (PCSD) has officially announced the expansion of its preschool program, aimed at making early childhood education more accessible and practical for every four-year-old in the district. This development showcases a significant commitment to the community’s youngest learners.

Starting next academic year, PCSD will introduce an additional 70 seats specifically for four-year-olds, thereby increasing the total capacity to accommodate 230 students aged three and four. This move is a part of the school board’s long-term goal to provide affordable and high-quality preschool education to all interested families within the district. To date, PCSD has welcomed 2,000 preschoolers into its program.

Enrollment opens for the 2024/2025 school year on Jan. 15. The announcement came during a crucial time in December when families were and are planning for the upcoming year’s childcare and education needs.

During the Park City school board meeting on Dec. 12, Stacey Briggs, Dan Gallery, and Todd Klarich presented the details of the Preschool Expansion initiative. They shared plans to complete new pre-K centers by fall 2024, expanding the four-year-old program by adding two classrooms in each center located at MPES and JRES. A recent community survey indicated that 86% of respondents need five full days or extended aftercare, which the expansion aims to fulfill.

The expansion isn’t just about increasing numbers; it’s about enhancing the quality and accessibility of education. The additional staffing includes four classified leads, four classified aides and extended registrar days. The program’s total cost has risen over the years, reflecting its growing scope and impact. For the 24/25 period, the requested budget is $2.268 million, with PCSD allocating $947,000, marking a $400,000 increase for the district. Potential funding may come from the governor’s requested 5% increase on the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) this year, which could help offset the costs.

The motion to approve the Preschool Program expansion was unanimously passed, signaling a unified commitment to early childhood education in Park City.

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