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February 22, 2017

Senate Education Committee (reported by Mike Kelley): HB108 (1st sub.): Teacher Salary Supplement Amendments was presented by Sen. Evan Vickers. The bill allows those with Level 4 endorsements in science, in addition to those with science degrees, to be eligible for a teacher salary supplement. The bill passed unanimously.

HB292: Charter School Admission Amendments was presented by Rep. Justin Fawson. The bill allows a charter school to give an enrollment preference to the sibling of an individual who was previously enrolled in the charter school. The bill passed unanimously.

Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee (reported by Jay Blain): SB141: Income Tax Amendments was presented by Sen. Jim Dabakis. This bill will increase thresholds for income tax at certain income levels, generating new income in the Education Fund. Sen. Dabakis began by saying that we haven’t been able to grow our way to increase education funding. When the flat tax was implemented, “we were promised an influx of millionaires and billionaires,” he said, but what really happened was a dramatic decrease in the Education Fund. “We are hemorrhaging teachers and (falling behind) in the marketplace of ideas. Let’s throw this out and let the (Senate) hear it,” he said. The bill failed on a party-line vote of 2-4.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): SB40 (1st sub.): School Bus Inspection Revisions changes the frequency of required safety inspections for school buses. The bill passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Governor for signature.

HB168: Kindergarten Supplemental Enrichment Program would provide more extended-day kindergarten programs for high poverty schools. Money for the program would primarily come from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), although the substitute bill allocates about $200,000 from the Education Fund. It also requires that the State Board of Education will develop entry and exit assessments for the enrichment program. The bill passed the House on a vote of 61-10.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB209 (1st sub.): Administration of Medication to Students Amendment clarifies issues of immunity from liability when a student is administered a glucagon, seizure medication or an opioid antagonist. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the Governor for signature.

SB127: State Board of Education Amendments includes the State Board of Education as an educational procurement unit with independent procurement authority, removes State Board of Education employees from certain overtime provisions and exempts certain State Board of Education employees from career service provisions. It passed the Senate unanimously.

SB117 (1st sub.): Higher Education Performance Funding enacts provisions related to performance funding for higher education institutions and applied technology colleges. The UEA opposes this bill because it represents an earmark on the Education Fund. It passed the Senate unanimously.

SB148: School Leadership Task Force would create a legislative taskforce to study issues related to recruitment, retention, preparation and mentoring of effective school leaders. It passed the Senate unanimously.


February 21, 2017

Senate Education Committee (reported by Jay Blain): SB234: School Turnaround Amendments was presented by Sen. Ann Millner. The bill makes changes to the School Turnaround program. It allows for a three-year program with up to a two-year extension. The bill continues the current public-private partnership but also allows for contracted ‘specialists’ to help in specific areas. It allows the school to use some of the funds for teacher recruitment and retention but they must use matching funds. The bill passed the committee unanimously.

HB126: Student Plan for College and Career Readiness Revisions changes Student Education Occupation Plan (SEOP) to “Student Plan for College and Career Readiness” everywhere it appears in code. It also changes Student Education Plan (SEP) to Individual Learning Plan. The bill passed unanimously and was placed on the consent calendar. The UEA supports this bill.

SB196: Health Education Amendments removes the prohibition of advocacy of homosexuality in health education and was amended to add a prohibition of premarital or extramarital sexual activity. There was considerable discussion on the bill, all in support. Those speaking included representatives from Equality Utah, the Eagle Forum, Sutherland Institute and the Family Policy Research Center. The UEA also supports this bill. It passed unanimously as amended.

HJR8: Joint Resolution Supporting the Retention of Public Educators supports the retention of public educators by directing revenue generated after transfer of federal public lands to state ownership towards a fund to increase educator salaries. The UEA supports this resolution. It passed the committee unanimously and now goes to the full Senate.

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HB231: Educator Evaluation Amendments was presented by Rep. Jefferson Moss. The bill makes substantial changes to educator evaluation, removing many state requirements and giving much more flexibility to local districts. Sara Jones, speaking on behalf of the UEA, raised a number of concerns.  The bill eliminates expectations like a minimum of two evaluations a year for provisional teachers, eliminating the requirement that employees receive an orientation on the evaluation system, and eliminating specific remediation procedures for teachers who are not performing effectively. She stated that these kinds of requirements should be maintained in state code so that every educator in every district has access to a fair and consistent evaluation process. The bill passed unanimously.

HB368: Related to Basic School Programs Review was presented by Rep. Justin Fawson. It passed the committee unanimously.

HB352: Public Education Employment Revisions was presented by Rep. Ken Ivory. The bill would change how the educator professional practices commission (UPPAC) functions. There were extensive questions from the committee regarding potential unintended consequences. Lisa Nentl-Bloom and Tracey Watson, both speaking on behalf of the UEA, raised a number of significant concerns, including that this legislation would take USBE rules that were only recently adopted and have not yet been fully implemented and put them in state code. The bill failed in committee on a vote of 4-6.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB92: Physical Restraint in Schools amends provisions related to the infliction of corporal punishment on a student amends provisions related to the use of physical restraint in schools and amends provisions related to a student who willfully defaces or otherwise injures school property. The bill passed the House on a vote of 74-1.




2017 LEGISLATURE WEEK FOUR SUMMARY: February 13-17

At the end of WEEK FOUR, the UEA was tracking 94 education-related bills, 31 of which progressed through the lawmaking process during the week. Friday’s UEA Educator Day on the Hill saw near record participation with more than 100 attending. The Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee recommended a 3% WPU increase, more than originally expected, but less than the 4% recommended by Gov. Herbert.

Public Education Budget: The Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee co-chairs presented their committee’s priorities during the week, which include fully funding enrollment growth ($64 million), 3% on the WPU ($90 million) and making the appropriation for teacher supply money ongoing rather than appropriating money year-to-year ($5 million). The priorities also include request to fully pay educator licensing fees ($2.6 million). This would eliminate the current requirement that educators pay out-of-pocket for licensing costs.

The subcommittee presented these recommendations to the Executive Appropriations Committee, which will take the recommendations from all appropriations subcommittees and determine the final budget for approval by the full legislature. Leaders announced Friday that new quarterly estimates show the Legislature will have $88 million more than it had expected for next year's budget. There have also been rumors of additional bills to enhance education revenue, leaving hope that additional money may be added to the WPU.

Educator Day on the Hill: It was a full house at UEA Educator Day On the Hill, with a well over 100 educators and education support professionals participating from 17 school districts. Nearly half were participating for the first time.

Four representatives, Craig HallMarie PoulsonJoel Briscoe and Robert Spendlove, stopped by after lunch to thank teachers and share information about proposals moving through the legislature. Rep. Poulson discussed her bill (HB241) to replace the school grading system with a more robust school accountability system. “Most do not believe school grades are a true reflection of what is going on in our schools,” she said. The Governor’s education advisor Tami Pyfer also shared insight into how to be effective when talking to legislators. The meeting concluded with a discussion of ideas about how to share the experience with other teachers.


Bills on the move this week
(For the current status on all bills of interest see the UEA Legislative Tracking Sheet)

HB23 (1st sub.): Income Tax Credit Modifications phases out the solar income tax credit until it is gone. The UEA is tracking this bill because of the potential impact on the education budget. It passed the House on a vote of 60-14.

HB29 (4th sub.): Energy Efficient Vehicle Tax Credit Amendments takes $375,000 from the General Fund and $125,000 (less than in previous versions of the bill) from the Education Fund to be used as tax credits for energy efficient vehicles. It passed the House Revenue and Taxation Committee unanimously, but committee members were unsure if it would be funded.

HB35: Minimum School Program Amendments amends provisions related to a local school board paying for a student to attend a school district outside of the state and amends provisions related to necessarily existent small schools. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

HB62: Educator Rights Amendments would require school districts to update definitions in policies related to bullying and implement a grievance procedure for employees experiencing abusive conduct by a parent or student. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

HB78: Nonbinding Opinion Questions would allow public opinion questions to be placed on election ballots. The bill failed on the House floor by a vote of 34-36.

HB108 (1st sub.): Teacher Salary Supplement Amendments allows those with Level 4 endorsements in science, in addition to those with science degrees, to be eligible for a teacher salary supplement. A substitute bill, which removes biology and adds endorsements to help math teachers, passed the House 67-5 and now goes to the Senate.

HB114: Local School Entity Amendments modifies provisions relating to the Minimum School Program Act. It passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the Governor.

HB119 (1st sub.): School Board Midterm Replacement Process creates a process for a local school board to make an appointment to fill a vacancy on the school board after a local school board member resigns. It passed the House unanimously.

HB125: Student Residency Amendments clarifies issues related to a student’s district of residence when a student is receiving services from a health care facility or human services program. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

HB126: Student Plan for College and Career Readiness Revisions changes references for Student Education/Occupation Plan (SEOP) to “plan for college and career readiness” and Student Education Plan (SEP) to “individual learning plan,” to reflect current language. It passed the House unanimously.

HB166: School and Institutional Trust Fund Amendments changes the number of times the State Institutional Trust Funds Office (SITFO) meets from nine to six. It passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the Governor.

HB209 (1st sub.): Administration of Medication to Students Amendment clarifies issues of immunity from liability when a student is administered a glucagon, seizure medication or an opioid antagonist. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

HB212 (2nd sub.): Incentive for Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools appropriates about $400,000 to provide a $5,000 bonus for a teacher deemed highly effective based on test scores and teaching in a high poverty school. The UEA has concerns about defining a teacher’s effectiveness based solely on a standardized test score and the fact only a small percentage of teachers, those teaching grades 4-6 in elementary school or those teaching a tested subject in secondary schools, would even qualify. The bill passed the House Education Committee 6-4 and now goes to the full House.

HB223: Elementary School Counselor Pilot Program creates a grant program to fund school counselors in elementary schools to provide emotional and social support to students and college and career readiness counseling. It passed the House Education Committee unanimously and now goes to the full House.

HB241: School Accountability Amendments discontinues the practice of school grading and replaces it with a system of indicators developed by the Utah State Board of Education. The bill passed the House Education Committee on a vote of 6-4 and now goes to the full House.

HB264: Utah Education Amendments requires the State Board of Education to work with the legislative auditor to review the effectiveness of education programs by November 30, 2018 and prepare and submit a revised 10-year plan to the Education Interim Committee by November 30, 2019. The bill passed the House Education Committee 9-2.

HB288 (1st sub.): School Sunscreen Provisions permits a student to carry and use sunscreen at a public school. It passed the House 67-1.

HB292: Charter School Admission Amendments allows a charter school to give an enrollment preference to the sibling of an individual who was previously enrolled in the charter school. The bill passed both the House Education Committee and the full House unanimously and now goes to the Senate.

HCR5 (1st sub.): Concurrent Resolution on Clean Fuel School Buses supports the dedication of a portion of the funds of the Volkswagen settlement for the replacement of old school buses with clean fuel buses. The bill passed the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee unanimously.

HJR1: Joint Rules Resolution on Redistricting Standards passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Senate. The resolution enacts principles and procedures to guide the Legislature during redistricting.

HJR4 (1st sub.): Joint Resolution on Maintenance-of-effort Requirements requests that Utah's congressional delegation submit federal legislation requiring that the state amount obligated as a maintenance-of-effort calculation not exceed the amount of federal funding provided. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the Governor.

HJR8: Joint Resolution Supporting the Retention of Public Educators supports the retention of public educators by directing revenue generated after transfer of federal public lands to state ownership towards a fund to increase educator salaries. The UEA supports this resolution. It passed the House 62-7.

SB40 (1st sub.): School Bus Inspection Revisions changes the frequency of required safety inspections for school buses. It passed the Senate unanimously.

SB64 (1st sub.): Student Scholarship Amendments changes the amount of the Centennial Scholarship and allows for a deferment. It passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Governor.

SB78: Teacher Pedagogical Assessment would require that a graduate of university education preparation program pass a performance-based pedagogical assessment before receiving a Level I teaching license. It would allow an alternative-route-to-licensure candidate to teach up to two years before passing the same pedagogical assessment and retain their Level I license. It passed the Senate on a vote of 22-2 and now goes to the House.

SB102: Utah Student Privacy Act requires a public school to make a list of individuals who are authorized to access education records and provide training on student privacy laws. It passed the Senate unanimously.

SB115 (1st sub.): Compulsory Education Revisions amends penalties for a parent of a truant school-age child and amends requirements related to excusing a home-schooled student. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

SB125: Authorization to Modify Charter School Charter Agreements allows a charter to modify its charter without going to its authorizer in order to exceed its cap in cases when a district school within a two-mile radius is closed to open enrollment. The bill passed the Senate 24-4 and now goes to the House.

SB216: Reading Intervention Software License Program Accountability Amendments provides that a school district, the State Board of Education and a technology provider work with a public school if the usage rate of reading intervention software falls below a recommended rate. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

SB220: Student Assessment and School Accountability Amendments would eliminate the use of SAGE tests in high school and instead require ACT and ACT Aspire assessments for high school students. It would also modify the current school grading accountability system, incorporating several new criteria and changing calculation and reporting of school performance. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

SB223 (1st sub.): Modifications to Charter School Governance requires the State Board of Education to adopt principles and standards for quality charter authorizing and requires the Board to adopt rules for the oversight of a charter school authorizer. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.


2017 LEGISLATURE WEEK THREE SUMMARY: February 6-10

Of the 9bills currently being tracked by the UEA, 22 moved through the legislative process this week. One, the “base budget” (SB1), passed both the Senate and the House and was sent to the Governor for signature. This bill sets the budget the same as last year. A supplemental bill, to be considered later in the session, will determine any new funding for public education.

During this week’s Educator Day on the Hill event, the Senate chair of the Executive Appropriations Committee stopped by to share his insight on the public education budget with attendees. There is about $325 million in new money available after adjusting budgets, said Sen. Jerry Stevenson. Student growth and a 3 percent WPU increase would take nearly all of that.

Public Education Budget: The Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee received a new funding request list showing all the ongoing and one-time budget requests for the next year, not in any priority order. It was noted that these requests exceed the available funding. The subcommittee also received a new motions sheet.

After the subcommittee heard from several people requesting appropriations, Senate subcommittee chair Sen. Lyle Hillyard gave advice and direction to the subcommittee members on how they should provide input on the budget. First, growth needs to be funded and second a minimum 2.5% on the WPU, he said. He suggested not going beyond that. He also suggested that subcommittee members think of the welfare of the entire state not just their own districts.

SB1: Public Education Base Budget Amendments sets the base budget the same as the previous year. It passed both the Senate and the House unanimously and now goes to the governor for signature. A supplemental bill, to be considered later in the session, will determine any new funding for public education.

Educator Day on the Hill: Welcome to the Capitol! Several of the 30 educators, administrators and education support professionals attending UEA Educator Day on the Hill were participating for the first time. Many of the new participants traveled from Moab and met Thursday evening to discuss the lobbying process. Also represented were Weber, Davis, Granite, Salt Lake and Jordan School Districts, as well as UEA Retired and Utah School Employees Association.

During an early morning meeting, the UEA Legislative Team discussed key bills moving through the legislative process, including Senate Bill 80. This bill would require that the legislature earmark an amount equal to one-third of any new WPU increase to a funding equalization program. It was explained that the bill creates “winners” and “losers” with only a few districts benefiting.

Bills on the move this week
(For the current status on all bills of interest see the UEA Legislative Tracking Sheet)

HB35: Minimum School Program Amendments passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Senate. The bill amends provisions related to a local school board paying for a student to attend a school district outside of the state and amends provisions related to necessarily existent small schools.

HB43: American Indian and Alaskan Native Education Amendments passed the House 73-1. It would provide $500,000 a year to fund recruitment and retention efforts of teachers teaching in schools serving primarily American Indian and Alaskan Native students.

HB62: Educator Rights Amendments requires a local school board or charter school governing board to update a policy related to bullying and implement a grievance process for a school employee who experiences abusive conduct. The bill passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Senate.

HB114: Local School Entity Amendments modifies provisions relating to the Minimum School Program Act. The bill the House passed unanimously

HB125: Student Residency Amendments enacts provisions governing the school district of residency for a child who is receiving services from a health care facility or human services program. It passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Senate.

HB132: School Bus Safety Requirements requires new school buses purchased after June 30, 2017, to be equipped with seatbelts. The bill failed in the House on a vote of 30-40.

HB166 (1st sub.): School and Institutional Trust Fund Amendments changes the number of times the State Institutional Trust Funds Office (SITFO) meets from nine to six. It passed a House committee and the full House unanimously and now goes to the Senate.

HB168: Kindergarten Supplemental Enrichment Program would provide more extended-day kindergarten programs for high poverty schools. Money for the program would come from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds rather than from the Education Fund. It also requires that the State Board of Education will develop entry and exit assessments for the enrichment program. The bill passed the House Education Committee 8-2.

HB209: Administration of Medication to Students Amendment passed the House unanimously. The bill allows for the administration of an opiate antagonist to a student.

HB215: Reproductive Health Education and Services Amendments failed in the House Education Committee on a vote of 2-12.

HCR5: Concurrent Resolution on Clean Fuel School Buses supports dedicating of a portion of the funds allocated to the state from the Volkswagen settlement for the purpose of replacing at least a portion of the 433 dirty diesel school buses with clean fuel school buses. The resolution passed the House 69-4 and now goes to the Senate.

HCR9: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Consideration of a Later School Day Start for High School encourages schools to adopt later start times for high school students. The bill passed the House Education Committee 8-2.

SB1: Public Education Base Budget Amendments sets the base budget the same as the previous year. It passed both the Senate and the House unanimously and now goes to the governor for signature. A supplemental bill, to be considered later in the session, will determine any new funding for public education.

SB49: Purpose of Minimum School Program would change the wording of the “mission statement” of the state school funding program to refer to “each child” rather than “all children”. The UEA opposes this bill. It failed in the House Education Committee 3-7.

SB64 (1st sub.): Student Scholarship Amendments changes the amount of the Centennial Scholarship and allows for a deferment. It passed the House Education Committee unanimously.

SB80: School Funding Amendments would take an amount equal to one-third of the increase on the WPU each year to increase the number of guaranteed local levy increments to qualifying districts, thereby leaving less available for the WPU. The UEA opposes this bill, which benefits some school districts, but not others. The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 19-9 and now goes to the House.

SB150: Local Government Bond Amendments requires a governing body to state the cost of a bond at the beginning of a ballot proposition. It passed the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee unanimously.

SB161: Bullying and Hazing Amendments requires a school board to update its policy regarding bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing and retaliation; requires employees, students and parents to sign a statement annually acknowledging understanding of the school board's policy; and requires training for school employees related to bullying, cyber-bullying, hazing and retaliation. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

SB163: Student Data Protection Amendments permits a third-party contractor to identify for a student institutions of higher education or scholarship providers that are seeking students who meet specific criteria. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

SB168: Career and College Readiness Mathematics Competency Revisions requires the State Board of Regents to select at least one test as an alternative to the ACCUPLACER College-Level Math test. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

SB180: Charter School Start-up Grants extends charter school start-up grants by removing the repeal date. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

SB173: English Language Arts Amendments would appropriate $200,000 to create a pilot program to implement software licenses for English Language Arts instruction in grades 4-12. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.


2017 LEGISLATURE WEEK TWO SUMMARY: January 30-February 3

Despite a record number of bills being filed this year, the number of education bills being tracked by the UEA is down slightly from recent years, although new bills are added daily. At the end of Week Two, UEA was tracking about 60 bills compared to 80 in 2016 and 70 in 2015.

The budget remains the biggest issue of discussion, but as yet, no action has been taken. Much of the work of the work of the UEA Legislative Team so far has been behind the scenes, working to stop or “fix” troublesome legislation and promote good policies.

Public Education Budget: The Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee met three times during Week Two. The subcommittee continued to hear reports from Legislative Fiscal Analysts, including:

·         presentation on Child Nutrition,

·         A report on the Initiative Programs in the Minimum School Programs,

·         Information about Education Contracts (students in state custody),

·         State Administrative Office budget details for staff at the Utah State Board of Education,

·         An explanation of the Minimum School Program and the Voted and Board Local Levy Programs, and

·         A report on the School and Institutional Trust Fund Office.

Other reports heard by the subcommittee included:

·         The State Board of Education presented its Minimum School Program requests, calling for $68 million for growth and a 2.5% WPU increase;

·         State Board personnel responded to items on the Initiative Programs;

·         The Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind (USDB) gave their budget presentation andbudget request;

·         A report was presented on the Professional Art Organizations outreach (POPS);

·         Superintendents from several school rural school districts presented information about funding Regional Service Centers;

·         The Governor’s Education Advisor Tami Pyfer addressed the Governor’s budget priorities; and

·         The School and Institution Trust Lands Office provided a report.

Educator Day on the Hill: Things kicked off Thursday evening when eight educators from Iron and Uintah School Districts participated in the first-ever evening legislative preparation event. Early Friday morning about 50 teachers and education professionals from all over Utah met with their legislators and voiced concerns on education issues. Participants came from Nebo, Weber, Washington, Emery, Ogden, Iron, Cache, Granite, Jordan, Uintah School Districts, as well as UEA-Retired. On Tuesday, Jan. 31, more than a dozen educators participated in Retired Educator Day on the Hill, sponsored by the UEA-Retired organization.

Bills on the move this week
(For the current status on all bills of interest see the UEA Legislative Tracking Sheet)

HB23: Income Tax Credit Modifications reduces the solar income tax credit by $400 per year until it is gone. The UEA is tracking this bill because of the potential impact on the education budget. It passed the House Revenue and Taxation Committee with 2 no votes.

HB35: Minimum School Program Amendments amends provisions related to a local school board paying for a student to attend a school district outside of the state, amends provisions related to necessarily existent small schools. The bill passed the House Education Committee unanimously.

HB62: Educator Rights Amendments requires a local school board or charter school governing board to update a policy related to bullying and implement a grievance process for a school employee who experiences abusive conduct. The bill passed the House Education Committee unanimously.

HB92: Physical Restraint in Schools amends provisions related to the infliction of corporal punishment on a student amends provisions related to the use of physical restraint in schools and amends provisions related to a student who willfully defaces or otherwise injures school property. The bill passed the House Education Committee unanimously.

HB108: Teacher Salary Supplement Amendments allows those with Level 4 endorsements in science, in addition to those with science degrees, to be eligible for a teacher salary supplement. It also adds biology and earth sciences to the supplement. The bill passed the House Education Committee on a vote of 8-3.

HB119 (1 sub.): School Board Midterm Replacement Process creates a process for a local school board to make an appointment to fill a vacancy on the school board after a local school board member resigns. It passed the House Education Committee unanimously.

HB125: Student Residency Amendments enacts provisions governing the school district of residency for a child who is receiving services from a health care facility or human services program. It passed the House Education Committee unanimously.

HB126: Student Plan for College and Career Readiness Revisions changes references for Student Education/Occupation Plan (SEOP) to “plan for college and career readiness” and Student Education Plan (SEP) to “individual learning plan,” to reflect current language. It passed the House Education Committee on a vote of 9-1.

HB136: Board of Education Revisions would require that before prioritizing implementation of certain federal programs, the State Board of Education determine the fiscal impact of the failure to implement those programs. The bill passed the House 59-14 and now goes to the Senate. The UEA opposes this bill.

HB212: Incentive for Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools would award a salary bonus up to $10,000 per year to teachers in high poverty schools who are defined as “effective” based on student growth as measured by SAGE test scores. The House Education Committee voted to adjourn without taking public comment or voting on the bill.

HJR4: Joint Resolution on Maintenance-of-effort Requirements requests that Utah's congressional delegation submit federal legislation requiring that the state amount obligated as a maintenance-of-effort calculation not exceed the amount of federal funding provided. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the House unanimously and now goes to the Senate.

SB34: Competency-based Education Funding authorizes the State Board of Education to reimburse a local education agency that offers a competency-based education for a student who graduates early from the local education agency. The bill passed the House Education Committee unanimously.

SB49: Purpose of Minimum School Program amends the purpose of the Minimum School Program Act to refer to "each child" rather than all children and include other public education schools and programs. It passed the Senate on a vote of 25-2 and now goes to the House for consideration.

SB60: School District Amendments passed the Senate on a vote of 23-5 and now goes to the House for consideration. This bill requires a private school to provide local school districts with personally identifiable information of students with disabilities and to provide parents of students with disabilities information regarding individual rights and school resources.

SB125: Authorization to Modify Charter School Charter Agreements would allow a charter school governing board to modify its enrollment procedures, without requiring the approval of the charter school authorizer, if there are students who reside within a two-mile radius of the charter school and whose school of residence is at capacity. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

SB127: State Board of Education Amendments includes the State Board of Education as an educational procurement unit with independent procurement authority, removes State Board of Education employees from certain overtime provisions and exempts certain State Board of Education employees from career service provisions. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

SB148: School Leadership Task Force would create a legislative taskforce to study issues related to recruitment, retention, preparation and mentoring of effective school leaders. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.


2017 LEGISLATURE WEEK ONE SUMMARY: January 23-27

“Subdued” is the word many are using to describe the first week of the 2017 Utah General Legislative Session, when compared to previous years. Week One ended with the UEA tracking about 40 bills, nearly half the 80+ bills being tracked at the same time last year, although additional bills are being added daily. Still, the UEA Legislative Team is on Capitol Hill every day making sure good legislation moves forward and poor policies are kept at bay. Finding ways to increase the public education budget was perhaps the most high-profile education topic of discussion.

Session Opening: In opening comments to the House of Representatives, Speaker Greg Hughes downplayed efforts to raise income taxes for education and instead urged other options, including a stronger push for state control of public lands. Senate President Wayne Niederhauser also spoke against the raising income taxes, saying raising taxes by $500-750 million is “politically difficult.”

In his State of the State speech, Gov. Gary Herbert spoke in support of more resources for education, but against raising income taxes. Raising income taxes could hurt the recovering economy and wind up hurting school funding, he said. "The very best way to ensure ongoing growth of education funding is to continue to grow our economy." he said. The Governor suggested other ways to increase education funding, including collecting more of the estimated $150 million to $200 million internet sales taxes owed and removing several sales tax exemptions.

Public Education Budget: The Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, which consists of 21 legislators from both the House and the Senate, met twice during the first week to begin the work of preparing a budget recommendation for the Executive Appropriations Committee. The draft SB1: Public Education Base Budget Amendments bill was shared with the subcommittee.

Legislative analyst Ben Leishman provided a Public Education Budget Overview and gave a presentation on the Minimum School Program. Other items heard by the subcommittee included a report titled “No Time to Lose: How to Build a World-Class Education System State by State” by the National Council of State Legislatures, the State Board of Education’s “Education Elevated” and the “Excellence for Each Student, Goals and Strategies” reports, and a report from the Governor’s Education Commission.

Educator Day on the Hill: About 20 teachers and education professionals participated in the first UEA Educator Day On the Hill of 2017. Participants shared booklets containing teacher comments from a recent survey with their legislators. This gave everyone the opportunity to meet face-to-face with representatives and senators and establish or strengthen relationships.

Bills on the move this week
(For the current status on all bills of interest see the UEA Legislative Tracking Sheet)

HB43: American Indian and Alaskan Native Education Amendments is an expansion of a similar bill that passed last year. It would provide $500,000 a year to certain schools to fund recruitment and retention efforts of teachers teaching in schools serving primarily American Indian and Alaskan Native students. The bill passed the House Education Committee unanimously.

HB114: Local School Entity Amendments passed the House Education Committee unanimously. It modifies provisions relating to the Minimum School Program Act, repeals outdated language; and makes technical changes.

HB132: School Bus Safety Requirements requires new school buses purchased after June 30, 2017, to be equipped with seatbelts. It passed the House Transportation Committee on a vote of 7-3.

HB136: Board of Education Revisions passed the House Education Committee on a vote of 9-3. It would require that before prioritizing implementation of certain federal programs the State Board of Education determine the fiscal impact of the failure to implement those programs. If the Board determines there is a financial loss for not implementing the program, the State Board could request that legislature appropriate from the Education Fund revenue surplus, money to mitigate the financial loss.

SB34: Competency-based Education Funding passed the Senate unanimously. The bill authorizes the State Board of Education to reimburse an eligible local education agency for a student who graduates early.

SB59: Students with Disabilities Evaluation Amendments requires the State Board of Education to make rules regarding communication with the parent or legal guardian of a student who may have a disability and annually report certain violations to the Education Interim Committee. It passed the Senate unanimously.

SB61: Students with Disabilities Accommodations Funding passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously and the full Senate on a vote of 25-1. The bill requires the State Board of Education to make rules regarding the disposition of any money appropriated to the board to reimburse local education agencies for certain services rendered to a student with an autism spectrum disorder.

SB64 Student Scholarship Amendments changes the amount of the centennial scholarship and allows a student to defer consideration for a centennial scholarship for certain reasons. It passed the Senate Education Committee and the full Senate unanimously.

SB78: Teacher Pedagogical Assessment would require that a graduate of university education preparation program pass a performance-based pedagogical assessment before receiving a Level I teaching license. In contrast, the bill would allow an alternative-route-to-licensure candidate to teach for up to two years before passing the same pedagogical assessment and retain their Level I license. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

SB80: School Funding Amendments would take one-third of the increase on the WPU each year to increase the number of guaranteed local levy increments to qualifying districts. Essentially, the bill would increase equalization efforts by using the WPU as the source of state funds to match district tax efforts. The bill passed 4-1.

SB102: Utah Student Privacy Act requires a public school to make a list of individuals who are authorized to access education records and provide training on student privacy laws. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.



2017 UEA Educator Day on the Hill

Held each Friday during the 45-day Utah General Legislative Session, UEA Educator Day on the Hill gives you  the opportunity to introduce yourself to your lawmakers. Join us at the State Capitol for any or all of the following Fridays:

  • January 27
  • February 3
  • February 10
  • February 17
  • February 24
  • March 3

Governor Proposes 4% WPU Boost — December 7, 2016

"Our No. 1 budget priority is education," said Governor Gary Herbert as he released his FY2018 state budget on Dec. 7, noting that "nearly 80 percent of all the new money in this budget recommendation goes to education."

The governor’s budget calls for $68 million to fully fund the more than 10,000 new students expected next fall and $116 million to increase the Weighted Pupil Unit, the basic public school funding mechanism, by 4 percent. The budget also proposes $9 million in one-time money for teacher supplies, same as was budgeted in the current year.

In his remarks, the governor called recent efforts of the business-led "Our Schools Now" initiative to increase taxes for education “premature,” worrying that a tax increase "could have a dampening effect on our economic growth and expansion."

Instead of the tax increase, Governor Herbert urged reform of existing taxes to support schools. He specifically cited examples such as limiting the number of income-tax exemptions and credits and uncollected taxes on online sales.

“The Governor’s proposed 4 percent WPU increase, while helpful, falls far short of the significant funding effort required to meet the needs of our increasingly diverse student population and address Utah’s severe teacher shortage,” said UEA President Heidi Matthews. “We agree with the Governor that it’s time to look at things that are eroding the state budget like earmarks and tax breaks.”

"We call on our legislators to take bold steps to address the funding challenges facing our public schools by making a long-term commitment to increase revenue for public education. Utah’s students deserve the best education we can give them and every opportunity for success," she said.

David Crandall, chairman of the Utah Board of Education, said he was appreciative of Herbert's emphasis on the WPU, which goes directly to school districts." I think both the governor and the state [school] board value the concept of local control," Crandall said.


Interim Meetings - May 17, 2016

Executive Appropriations Committee (reported by Jay Blain): The Committee adopted May revenue estimates. These are the February revenues estimates adjusted for passed bills. Jill Curry from the Legislative Fiscal Analysts Office then presented an education funding bill to be considered during a Special Session of the legislature. The bill restores the funds vetoed by the Governor and cuts funding for the Electronic High School. It restores intent language from this year’s budget bill. Rep. Joel Briscoe moved an amendment that would have shifted funding from a Food Network reality show and expand it to more students. Several legislators spoke against the amendment. The amendment failed and the proposed bill was passed by the Committee on a party-line vote. It will now be considered by the full legislature during a Special Session.

Legislative Score Cards - April 15, 2016

Want to know how your legislator voted on education issues? Each year, the UEA tracks numerous bills during the legislative session then reviews the voting records of legislators and highlights selected bills voted on in the Legislature that would have significant impact on public education, the education profession and the UEA.

It is important to note that a voting record is but one of several indicators used to evaluate legislators. It does not explain the reasons a legislator voted a certain way on a bill, and in some cases the final percentage might not accurately reflect a legislator’s overall support for public education. Please contact your legislators directly to ask them to explain their votes. Contact information is available from the Utah Legislature look-up pagemore

2016 UEA Legislative Summary

The 2016 Legislative Session ended March 10 with full funding of new student growth, a minor bump in overall funding, a move to partisan state school board elections and restrictions on the use of SAGE test scores.

The final budget provided $90 million to fund new student growth and added 3 percent to the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU). It also provided $20 million for charter schools, $15 million for technology grants, $6 million in teacher supply money and $5.7 million for arts programs. Pre-school programs received $11 million in new money, primarily from federal sources...more


2017 Legislative Archives

To view daily summaries...


Legislative Archives