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Friday, February 23, 2007

Truckload of Gold for Public Ed

Kids that can't even read our blog site yet will benefit from the 2007 Session. House and Senate Leaders had a good discussion with the press after our caucus meetings today. We're excited to make a little history.

Here are 2 PDFs of supporting information (highlights and historical perspective) and the press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2007

A RECORD $527.9 MILLION FOR UTAH EDUCATION

SALT LAKE CITY – Legislative Republicans have agreed to fund an unprecedented $527.9 million budget for education in Utah. Public education will receive $459.5 million and higher education will receive $68.4 million. Combined, education in Utah will receive about one-third of the states $1.6 billion surplus.

“This level of funding for education is both historic and necessary,” said Senate President John Valentine. “Both students and teachers win. When the session began we made education our number one priority and we have followed through and put education first.”

“Funding education has long been a priority of the legislature,” said House Speaker Greg Curtis, “We believe this increase will significantly improve the quality of education and the quality of life in Utah.”

Early goals to fund education at around $300 million were labeled by some as idealistic and unachievable. This year, the legislature will surpass that goal by an additional $227 million.

Public education will receive $279.9 million in ongoing funds and $179.5 million in one time. In addition, $7.5 million will be appropriated for Extended-day Kindergarten. Growth in public schools was funded earlier in the session at $72.8 million.

Higher Education will receive $56.2 million in ongoing funds and $12.2 million in one time money.

The education package includes the equivalent of a 7% WPU increase:
  • $1,000 one-time bonus for all Utah teachers
  • $2,500 permanent pay raise for all Utah teachers
  • Plus 4% more as a general per pupil increase
Over the last two years, public education has received a 36.9 percent increase. Higher education and public education, together, have increased by 19.3 percent.

# # #

4 Comments:

Anonymous Justin said...

Hey, Great! Maybe now we can pass Tennessee and come in 50th out of all the states and the District of Columbia in terms of public school funding per student. Way to go, Legislature. Yay!!! Glad to see your priorities are where they ought to be.

2/25/2007 2:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all a matter of how you look at the numbers. Utah just happens to have more children per household than any other state so of course education wants us all to suffer to pay more for THE CHILDREN than any other state. Vouchers are our only hope.
I thought we were already giving more of our taxes to education than any other state... and I thought we were close to the highest taxed state in the nation.
Just open up your wallet everyone; give it all to education. They won't be happy with any less.

2/26/2007 8:41 AM  
Anonymous teacher in Utah said...

The second anonymous needs to look at the stats a bit. We do give a lot, but the percentage of the state budget given to k-12 has declined over the years and so has the amount we spend per $1000 (the Utah Foundation study).

There are other factors besides having more children too--we don't have as big a corporate tax base as other states do, a lot of our land is locked up in ownership by the federal government and can't be taxed, and there is still the problem of attitude by many to address specific things. Vouchers don't solve much except extending another big-government political agenda. We need to get in and addreass REAL issues. Changing our attitudes on all sides and working toghether would be a big first step.

2/26/2007 1:27 PM  
Anonymous teacher in Utah said...

For the record, I don't like the attitude of the first poster either. BOTH sides have these combative, negative attitudes. THAT'S what needs changing. Vouchers even promote it more. I think we can come down to a community level and would love to have less state and federal government micromanaging and more community involvement and local control.

2/26/2007 1:30 PM  

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