EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

42 teaching positions eliminated in SLC from decline in student enrollment

Feb 3, 2022, 1:36 PM | Updated: Aug 30, 2022, 3:38 pm

the salt lake city school district offices are pictured, the district just had an audit...

Salt Lake City School District offices are pictured in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City School Board eliminated 42 teaching positions next year, citing lower enrollment numbers. 

Board members made the cut but said, really, they need to cut more than twice that — about 76 teaching positions.

The cuts don’t have to come solely from full-time positions, the board just has to cut the equivalent of 42 full-time positions.

How eliminating teaching positions plays out

Board member Katherine Kennedy says reducing staff is only a temporary solution.

“I mean, what we have to do is start thinking about what schools we’re going to close,” said Kenedy

The good news is, the board believes they won’t have to actually fire people. It thinks enough people will retire and resign to make up for that number. 

But the board brainstormed some different creative solutions to entice more students, like adding better school programs. Kennedy says that’s not enough.

“Saying we need to come up with creative solutions, I mean, that is really unrealistic,” said Kennedy. “If we’re lucky we can get 1,000 students. Maybe I think that’s unrealistic, too. We need to face the projections we’ve gotten — twice.”

If they do decide to shut a school down, it won’t happen immediately. The process would take about two years.

Dropping enrollment is not a new problem for the SLC district, others

Back in 2020, about six months into the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Salt Lake City School District reported a significant drop in students enrolling in school. 

At the time, the school district said enrollment was also dropping because Salt Lake City was becoming too expensive.

“There are a number of reasons that enrollment was turning downward, anyway,” said District spokeswoman Yandary Chatwin in September 2020. “There is a housing crisis in Salt Lake. Prices are going up and a lot of families are looking at the suburbs, instead.”

It’s not just elementary, middle, and high schools across the nation seeing drops in enrollment. Daycares have reported dwindling numbers, as did kindergarten. For colleges and universities, it’s been a mixed bag.

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42 teaching positions eliminated in SLC from decline in student enrollment