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What My Constituents Want - Part Two
By Greg Bell
Utah State Senator, District 22
Here's what I'm hearing from the good people in Davis County: Public Education and Transportation are THE issues this year. I'll talk about Public Education first.
People in my district seem to understand . . .
- Utah has more children per household (3.2 vs. 2.3) than the rest of the nation.
- Utah’s income per job tends to be less than the national average (about 80%).
- Utah therefore has to be very efficient and innovative with scarce tax dollars.
- The economic downturn i n 2001-03 legitimately limited Utah's ability to increase educational funding.
HOWEVER, they also believe that . . .
- Since the end of the recession, Utah has not adequately funded public education.
- Class sizes have become a serious problem: 25 students in K-3, and 35 to 40 students in High School math and English are NOT acceptable.
- Teacher salaries beginning at $12/hr. and topping out around $40K are unacceptable.
- Increased teacher compensation must be linked to performance-based incentives for quality teaching.
- Students must have adequate classroom resources: textbooks, access to computers, paper, supplies.
- Tax cuts at the expense of public ed are NOT desireable.
- Current record surpluses should be devoted to major educational funding increases.
In exchange, my constituents are demanding that public education . . .
The bottom line
- Account for monies spent, particularly in administrative costs;
- Account for individual student progress and school-wide academic achievement;
- Account for the high cost of new buildings;
- Eliminate poor, underperforming teachers from the system;
- Require high school graduates to have basic competency in core subjects; and
- Allow parents to have a real say in policy decisions.
that I am hearing from citizens in my district is that we should use the budget surplus wisely to make a significant and continuing investment
in quality public education.
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