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UEA Report on the 2014 Utah Legislature General Session

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WEEK FIVE:

 

2014 LEGISLATURE WEEK FIVE SUMMARY: February 24-28

Public Education Budget: The long-awaited revenue figures were reported by Sen. Lyle Hillyard. The figures include an additional $47 million in ongoing revenue and $11 million in one-time funds for Fiscal Year 2014-15.The Executive Appropriations Committee will use these figures as it continues work on the statewide budget.

The UEA continues to call on teachers, parents and everyone concerned about Utah public education to contact their legislators and support the following basic education needs before considering new projects:

  • Fully fund new student growth;

  • A minimum 2.5% increase on the WPU;

  • Social Security and retirement as a separate line item; and

  • Restore two days of educator professional development.

- See more about the budget

Educator Day on the Hill: Forty educators from Granite, Canyons, Salt Lake, Jordan, Davis and Nebo joined the UEA Legislative Team on the hill. They learned about hot education bills, attended committee meetings and had an opportunity to meet with their individual legislators. Reps. Joel Briscoe and Steve Eliason visited with teachers, shared information about their education bills and thanked the teachers for their work and also for coming to the hill.

Only one Educator Day on the Hill remains for this session. Join your fellow educators on March 7 to help make a difference for your students and your profession.

Special Recognition: Utah’s National Board Certified Teachers were recognized on the floor in both the House and the Senate. Sen. Pat Jones said these educators represent the “cream of the crop,” explaining that they spend up to three years getting the equivalent of a master’s degree to become nationally certified. She commended them for their commitment to excellence.

To celebrate NEA’s “Read Across America,” the Cat in the Hat made a special appearances in the Senate and the House. Sen. Jones recognized the National Education Association for sponsoring "Read Across America” and said it is a day to “celebrate the joy of reading.” Rep. Becky Edwards reminded everyone “you're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.” The UEA sponsored the Cat’s appearance.

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

  • HB36: Charter School Enrollment Amendments amends the current charter school law to allow the grandchild of a founding member of a charter school to not have to go through the application process to enroll. It passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the Governor for signature.
  • HB41: Clean Fuel School Buses and Infrastructure would provide grants to replace school buses and to create infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles. The bill passed the House on a nearly unanimous vote and now moves to the Senate.
  • HB77: Tax Credits for Home-school Parents provides a $500 credit for home school families. The bill failed in the House on a vote of 32-37. The UEA opposed this bill.
  • HB84 (1st Sub.): School District Amendments only allows the creation of a new school district if the revenues of the proposed district are under 5 percent of the old district, matching language required for the creation of new cities. The bill passed the House 56-14 and now moves to the Senate.
  • HB111: School Building Costs enacts language to require a local education agency to submit a capital outlay report for publication on the Utah Public Finance Website. The bill passed the House unanimously and now moves to the Senate.
  • HB116 (1 Sub.) School Construction Modifications requires the State Board of Education to adopt school construction guidelines and requires school districts to take these guidelines into consideration when planning school constriction. The bill passed the House 66-2.
  • HB131: Public Education Modernization Act provides $50 million to upgrade technology infrastructure within buildings and $150 million to begin providing one-to-one mobile technology devices to all Utah students. The bill includes teacher training, which, according to the sponsor is “the most important part of this bill.”  The bill passed the House Education Committee on a 13-1 vote. See more about this issue.
  • HB150 (1st Sub.): Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Amendments was unanimously passed by the House Education Committee. The bill, which has a $23.5 million fiscal note paid for from the General Fund, adds members to the STEM Action Center Board, adds professional development for educators and expands the scope of STEM to include more students.
  • HB153: Study on Contribution and Credit for Education Funding passed out of the House Education Committee. The bill requires the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee to conduct a study on certain contributions and credits related to income taxes.
  • HB223: School Board Elections Provisions would replace the current system for electing state school board members with a non-partisan primary election. It passed the House Education Committee 9-3 and now goes to the full House. The UEA supports this bill.
  • HB228 (1st Sub.): Utah State Board of Education Elections and Reporting Amendments would make state school board elections partisan via the political parties. The bill failed in the House Education Committee on a vote of 6-7. The UEA opposes this bill. (NOTE: the Committee re-heard this bill on March 3 and passed it with a favorable recommendation.)
  • HB236: State School Board Nomination Revisions ensures that a lobbyist would not be able to serve on the nominating committee for state school board members. The bill passed the House Education Committee unanimously.
  • HB241: School Records Amendments saves costs by requiring the collection of less data. The bill failed in the Senate Education Committee on a 3-3 vote. The UEA supported this bill.
  • HB250: Local School Board Amendments defines “Body Corporate” for the law and clarifies how school board members represent their constituents. It passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the Governor for signature.
  • HB260: Local School Board Candidate Reporting Amendments passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the Governor for signature. The bill changes the dates for school board races to align with local races and will require one less report during the election year and one less report during the off election year. The UEA supports this bill.
  • HB307: Public Education Funding Task Force passed out of the House Education Committee with a favorable recommendation. The bill creates a task force to look at long-term funding strategies for public education.
  • HB320 (1st Sub.): Educator’s Professional Learning would direct $99,000 for an outside contractor to study what constitutes quality educator professional development. The bill passed the House 67-2 and now goes to the Senate.
  • HB329: Youth Protection Programs provides money for schools to implement evidence-based practices and programs, or emerging best practices and programs, for preventing suicide. The bill passed the House 70-1 and now moves to the Senate.
  • HB337: Teacher Salary Supplement Program Amendments moves the administration of money for this program from state Division of Human Resources to State Office of Education, saving $50,000 per year. It passed the House unanimously. The UEA supports this bill.
  • SB40 (1st Sub.): Financial and Economic Literacy Amendments provides basic financial and economic literacy to students and changes/updates the current program. It passed the House Education Committee with a favorable recommendation.
  • SB74: Career and Technical Education Funding for Charter Schools restricts the funding to charter schools that focuses on early high school and technical education. This allows a charter school to receive CTE funding for students enrolled. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee 3-2.
  • SB91: School District Modifications sets parameters for how many signatures are needed in each precinct if a city wants to create a new school district and extends a sunset provision for the local levy equalization to 2020. The Senate Education Committee voted unanimously to hold the bill in committee.
  • SB103 (1st Sub.) Local Control of Classroom Time Requirements passed the House and the Senate and now goes to the Governor for signature. The amended bill allows for a local school board to replace up to four days (down from 8 in the original bill) or 32 hours of instruction with either teacher professional development or teacher preparation days. It requires a two-thirds vote of a school local school board to implement and must done at least 90 days before the beginning of a school year.
  • SB104: Improvement of Reading Instruction was amended to provide $475,000 to expand the University of Utah Reading Clinic. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously and now goes to the full Senate.
  • SB122 (1st Sub.): Parental Rights in Public Education was substituted to remove all parental obligations. The bill specifies certain rights of parents, including the right to retain a student on grade level, make teacher requests, excuse absences for vacations and health care, and accommodate the parent’s determination of level of rigor. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously and now goes to the full Senate.
  • SB148 (1st Sub.): Upstart Amendments passed the House and the Senate and now goes to the Governor for signature. Amendments in the House improved the substituted version of this bill by requiring a new a new RFP in 2019 and giving preference to low-income families if more apply than can be accommodated. The UEA opposed the original bill.
  • SB157: School-based Budgeting Amendments requires school districts to distribute no less than 85% of school program revenues directly to schools and requires a principal to determine how to use available revenues. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee with a favorable recommendation on a vote of 5-1 and now goes to the full Senate. The UEA opposes this bill.
  • SB181: Online Course Reporting Requirements requires the State Board of Education to require a school district or charter school to indicate whether a course is an online course when reporting student enrollment data. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.
  • SB202: Charter School Funding Amendments would increase the property tax rate school districts pay to charter schools for students from 26 percent in increments over time until it reaches 50 percent. Currently districts pay 25 percent of the per-student amount collected in property taxes to the charter school where a student attends. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee. The UEA opposes this bill.
  • SB209: School Grading Revisions makes changes to the school grading law passed last year. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.
  • SB215: Public School Comprehensive Emergency Response Plan Amendments would provide a system to alert students who are off campus of a campus lockdown. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.
  • SB218: Charter School Amendments gives priority to charter schools in a high growth area and lower priority for charter schools in low or no growth areas. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.
  • SB219: Public Education Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission changes the composition of the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission (UPPAC), which advises the State Board of Education on complaints against teachers. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee 5-1.
  • SB232: School Safety Tip Line for a public school student, parent, school employee, or citizen to make an anonymous report concerning unsafe, violent, or criminal activities, or the threat of such activities, provides for the creation of a statewide phone number (311) to provide a means for a public school student, parent, school employee, or citizen to make an anonymous report concerning unsafe, violent, or criminal activities, or the threat of such activities. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.
  • SJR12: Joint Resolution on State Superintendent of Public Instruction would propose having the state school superintendent appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate. Because this would mean a change in Utah’s State Constitution, it would need to be put to a public vote. and legislature give to the leader of public education. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously and now moves to the full Senate. UEA opposes this bill.

February 24, 2014

 

Senate Education Committee (Reported by Tom Nedreberg): Sen. Stuart Adams introduced SB209: School Grading Revisions by saying the school grading law passed last year but changes are needed to improve implementation. He talked about how a group of about 40 people representing the education community began meeting at the beginning of the summer. Decisions were made by consensus within the group and this bill addresses them. Alternative schools and new schools can opt out of the grading school system

Supt. Martel Menlove said there were people who were critical of how the state office calculated grades this year but said the equations and calculations were complicated and difficult. They are also looking for ways to address the process and making it better. He feels this process will take a few years. UEA Legislative Team member Sara Jones testified that this is the third grading model and there is a problem with consistency with the model. UEA is also concerned about comparing the old CRT with the new SAGE testing. Finally, UEA is concerned about how to help schools that are struggling with their grades in receiving additional resources to improve their grades, she said. Representatives from the Utah Taxpayers Association, a Charter School Association, and the State Charter School Board all spoke in favor of the bill. It passed the committee unanimously.

SB215: Public School Comprehensive Emergency Response Plan Amendments would provide a system to alert students who are off campus of a campus lockdown. The bill passed out of committee unanimously.

SB218: Charter School Amendments prioritizes high priority to charter schools in a high growth area and lower priority for charter schools in low or no growth areas, according to the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Howard Stephenson. It will make better use of taxpayer dollars and assist areas where high growth occurs, he said. The PTA spoke in opposition because they are concerned about charter schools that were established to be innovative and creative and not to replace public schools. The bill passed unanimously.

SB202: Charter School Funding Amendments would increase the property tax rate school districts pay to charter schools for students from 26 percent in increments over time until it reaches 50 percent. Currently districts pay 25 percent of the per-student amount collected in property taxes to the charter school where a student attends. Jody Sundberg, representing Utah School Boards Association said they have some concerns because the funds going from the districts to charter schools lose accountability. In her school district, Alpine, they had to increase property taxes to cover revenue lost to charter schools. The bill passed with only Sen. Pat Jones voting in opposition.

House Education Committee (Reported by Tom Nedreberg): Two bills heard in the House Education Committee would change the way state school board members are elected. Both bills would do away with the governor’s commission for selecting state school board members and replace it with direct primary elections. One would make the elections partisan, the other would keep them non-partisan.

HB223: School Board Elections Provisions would replace the current system it with a non-partisan primary election. Rep. Jim Nielson said he does not want to make our school decisions about partisan politics but wants to change the nominating system with the governor. There was a large contingent of individuals from the Eagle Forum, including Gail Ruzika, who testified against this bill because they wanted to see these elections become partisan. UEA Legislative Team member Jay Blain in favor of keeping partisan politics out of school matters. Deon Turley from the PTA also spoke in favor of the bill. It passed the committee 9-3 and now goes to the full House.

HB228 (1st Sub.): Utah State Board of Education Elections and Reporting Amendments would make state school board elections partisan via the political parties. Jay Blain testified in opposition to this bill because it is partisan. PTA also spoke against the bill. Members of the Eagle Forum testified in favor. The bill failed in committee on a vote of 6-7.

HB236: State School Board Nomination Revisions makes sure that in the nomination process for selecting the state school board that a lobbyist would not be able to serve on the nominating committee. He amended the bill to include a reselection of a currently serving board member if that member wanted to run again. Also stated that if either HB 223 or 228 pass this would make this bill moot. The bill passed unanimously.

SB40 (1st Sub.): Financial and Economic Literacy Amendments provides basic financial and economic literacy to students and changes/updates the current program. It passed the committee with a favorable recommendation.

Senate Floor (Reported by Tom Nedreberg): HB250: Local School Board Amendments defines “Body Corporate” for the law and clarifies how school board members represent their constituents. It passed unanimously and now goes to the Governor for signature.


February 25, 2014

 

Senate Education Committee (Reported by Mike Kelley): SB219: Public Education Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission changes the composition of the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission (UPPAC), which advises the State Board of Education on complaints against teachers. According to the sponsor, Sen. Deidre Henderson, the bill does three things: 1) moves appointment power for the UPPAC from the Superintendent to the State Board of Education, 2) gives the board rule-making authority over UPPAC authorization, and 3) makes a majority of the UPPAC parents or community members.

State Board of Education members Jennifer Johnson and Leslie Castle and Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzika spoke in favor of the bill. “There is no data or evidence that the current system is not working,” said UEA Legislative Team member Sara Jones. She asked that this bill be sent for Interim study until the state completes an independent review currently being conducted by the State Board of Education. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 5-1.

SB91: School District Modifications sets parameters for how many signatures are needed in each precinct if a city wants to create a new school district and extends a sunset provision for the local levy equalization to 2020. The committee voted unanimously to hold the bill in committee.

SB157: School-based Budgeting Amendments requires school districts to distribute no less than 85% of school program revenues directly to schools and requires a principal to determine how to use available revenues. The bill passed the committee with a favorable recommendation on a vote of 5-1 and now goes to the full Senate. The UEA opposes this bill.

SB181: Online Course Reporting Requirements requires the State Board of Education to require a school district or charter school to indicate whether a course is an online course when reporting student enrollment data. The bill passed the committee unanimously.

House Floor (Reported by Jay Blain): HB41: Clean Fuel School Buses and Infrastructure would provide grants to replace school buses and to create infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles. The bill passed the House on a nearly unanimous vote and now moves to the Senate.

HB337: Teacher Salary Supplement Program Amendments moves the administration of money for this program from state Division of Human Resources to State Office of Education, saving $50,000 per year. It passed the House unanimously. The UEA supports this bill.


February 26, 2014

 

House Education Committee (Reported by Jay Blain): The House Education Committee heard just one bill, but it was a big one. Rep. Francis Gibson said HB131: Public Education Modernization Act starts with a $50 million ask for UEN to upgrade infrastructure within buildings. Teacher development is the most important part of this bill, he said. “We are not looking to replace teachers with this bill. This bill is not meant to diminish the role of teachers.” The bill calls for 40 hours of professional development to train in the new technology. Rep. Gibson added that the professional development must be curriculum focused and sustained, not just one shot. When implemented correctly it reduces disciplinary and dropout rates and increases test scores and graduation rates, he said.

A representative from Project Red then discussed his vision for proper statewide implementation. “You don’t put an electronic saddle on a horse and expect that it will transform the Pony Express,” he said. The load on the teachers will be even heavier, he said, but in the projects he has implemented, many teachers who were going to retire decided to stay on because they liked what they saw with the new technology.

Many committee members asked questions of the sponsor followed by public comments. UEA Legislative Team member Sara Jones shared a summary of the results from a teacher survey. She urged legislators to address the basic needs of education before funding new programs. Summaries of the UEA survey were distributed to committee members.

The bill passed out favorably on a 13-1 vote. See more about this issue.

House Floor (Reported by Jay Blain): SB148 (1st Sub.): Upstart Amendments passed the House 52-21 and now goes back to the Senate for concurrence with amendments. Amendments in the House improved the substituted version of this bill by requiring a new a new RFP in 2019 and giving preference to low-income families if more apply than can be accommodated. These amendments still have to survive the concurrence process. The UEA opposed the original bill.

SB103 (1st Sub.): Local Control of Classroom Time Amendments allows for a local school board to replace up to four days (down from 6 in the original bill) or 32 hours of instruction with either teacher professional development or teacher preparation days. It requires a two-thirds vote of a school local school board to implement and must done at least 90 days before the beginning of a school year. The bill passed the House 50-24 and now goes back to the Senate for concurrence with amendments.


February 27, 2014

 

Senate Education Committee (Reported by Tom Nedreberg): SJR12: Joint Resolution on State Superintendent of Public Instruction would propose having the state school superintendent appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate. Because this would mean a change in Utah’s State Constitution, it would need to be put to a public vote. This would be done to tie the three educational agencies, the regency, the center of applied technology and public education, of the state and put then under the direction of the governor.

Supt. Martell Menlove said the State Board of Education is unanimously opposed to this bill because it would diminish the role of the State Board. Sen. Howard Stevenson countered that he didn’t understand the opposition because he felt it would increase the attention of the governor and legislature give to the leader of public education. The bill passed the committee unanimously and now moves to the full Senate. UEA opposes this bill.

SB104: Improvement of Reading Instruction was amended to provide $475,000 to expand the University of Utah Reading Clinic. The bill passed unanimously and now goes to the full Senate.

SB122 (1st Sub.): Parental Rights in Public Education was substituted to remove all parental obligations. The bill specifies certain rights of parents, including the right to retain a student on grade level, make teacher requests, excuse absences for vacations and health care, and accommodate the parent’s determination of level of rigor.

Supt. Menlove said the State Board of Education has not taken a position on this bill. He said the system is ready to look at changes that need to be made but there is a profound lack of resources available to accomplish tasks and requests. He also stated that sometimes “no” is a reasonable response to a request given the lack of resources. Representatives from several organizations spoke in favor of the bill including the Sutherland Institute, the PTA, and the Charter School Board. The bill passed the committee unanimously and now goes to the full Senate.

SB74: Career and Technical Education Funding for Charter Schools restricts the funding to charter schools that focuses on early high school and technical education. This allows a charter school to receive CTE funding for students enrolled. Supt. Menlove said the state board has not taken a position but has some concerns because it appears to take away authority from the State Board of Education on CTE standards. He was also concerned about the narrow definition and exemptions listed in the bill. This alters how CTE funding will be allocated statewide, he said. It also makes it so a particular charter school will get a differential advantage at the expense of every other charter and public school in the state. The bill passed the committee 3-2 with Sens. Osmond and Jones voting against.

SB232: School Safety Tip Line for a public school student, parent, school employee, or citizen to make an anonymous report concerning unsafe, violent, or criminal activities, or the threat of such activities, provides for the creation of a statewide phone number (311) to provide a means for a public school student, parent, school employee, or citizen to make an anonymous report concerning unsafe, violent, or criminal activities, or the threat of such activities. The bill would set aside the phone number and create a board to identify already existing call centers and meet the standards of being available 24/7 and will protect anonymity for students. It passed unanimously.

HB241: School Records Amendments was a result of a bill that passed last year about bullying. Through work with school districts they found out some of the language in the bill required keeping two separate databases, which created extra costs. This bill is done as a cost saving measure to not maintain two separate databases. The bill failed on a 3-3 vote. The UEA supported this bill.

House Floor (Reported by Jay Blain): HB84 (1st Sub.): School District Amendments only allows the creation of a new school district if the revenues of the proposed district are under 5 percent of the old district, in essence not allowing communities to “cherry pick” their tax base. This would match language required for the creation of new cities. The Salt Lake County Council supported bill. Motions to amend the bill to exempt cities formed prior to 2014 and to change the percentage to 10 percent both failed. The bill passed 56-14 and now moves to the Senate.

HB320 (1st Sub.): Educator’s Professional Learning would direct $99,000 for an outside contractor to study what constitutes quality educator professional development. Rep. Brad Last said the ultimate goal is to put money back into the Quality Teaching line item, that funds teacher professional development, but with standards and accountability. His hope is to build the confidence in the legislature so they will provide the funding, he said. Rep. Joel Briscoe said he is concerned that we are spending money to evaluate something we are not putting any money into and urged legislators to also vote to fund professional development. The bill passed 67-2 and now goes to the Senate.

HB329: Youth Protection Programs provides money for schools to implement evidence-based practices and programs, or emerging best practices and programs, for preventing suicide. The bill passed 70-1 and now moves to the Senate.

HB77: Tax Credits for Home-school Parents provides a $500 credit for home school families. Rep. Patrice Arent called it a voucher and said that the public has already spoken on this issue. They have the option to go to the public schools and have opted out. Rep. Kraig Powell called this is a “strong policy statement,” a statement that dollars that are dedicated to our public school system will slowly be depleted. “My concern with the bill is that it sets a precedent,” he said. “I believe that all taxpayers should support our public education system.” The bill failed on a vote of 32-37. The UEA opposed this bill.

Senate Floor: HB260: Local School Board Candidate Reporting Amendments passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the Governor for signature. The bill changes the dates for school board races to align with local races and will require one less report during the election year and one less report during the off election year. The UEA supports this bill.

HB36: Charter School Enrollment Amendments amends the current charter school law to allow the grandchild of a founding member of a charter school to not have to go through the application process to enroll. It passed the Senate unanimously and now goes to the Governor for signature.

The Senate concurred with amendments to SB103 (1st Sub.) Local Control of Classroom Time Requirements. The amended bill allows for a local school board to replace up to four days (down from 6 in the original bill) or 32 hours of instruction with either teacher professional development or teacher preparation days. It requires a two-thirds vote of a school local school board to implement and must done at least 90 days before the beginning of a school year.


February 28, 2014

 

Educator Day on the Hill (Reported by Tom Nedreberg): Forty educators from Granite, Canyons, Salt Lake, Jordan, Davis and Nebo joined the UEA legislative team on the hill. They learned about the bills that were heard in the House Education Committee before going to the committee meeting.

The STEM education bill, HB150, took a considerable amount of time in both the Educator Day on the Hill meeting and the House Education Committee meeting (see below) where the bill was heard and eventually passed. Teachers also talked a lot about HB131 (2nd Sub.) Public Education Modernization Act and UEA’s position. They wrote thank you notes to their representatives sharing classroom concerns. Teachers went then attended the House Education Committee and morning sessions of the Senate and House.

During lunch, teachers reported back on what they heard from their representatives. Donna Trease, teacher at Creekside Elementary, Brad Shuler, president of the Nebo Education Association, and Don Paver, president of Davis Education Association talked about their meeting with Speaker Becky Lockhart where they discussed HB131. They expressed how important funding the WPU, restoration of Professional Development and funding Social Security and Retirement was for the teachers. They also listened to Speaker Lockhart’s vision for implementing technology across the state.

Reps. Joel Briscoe and Steve Eliason visited with teachers, shared information about their education bills and thanked the teachers for their work and also for coming to the hill.

There is one more Educator Day on the Hill for this session on March 7. We’ve been averaging about 40 teachers per EDOH and have already had more teachers total this year than we did last year. The biggest push for legislation is during these last few days so it’s important for teachers to join the legislative team on the last EDOH and talk to their representatives and senators to help them understand the issues classroom teachers face.

House Education Committee (Reported by Mark Mickelsen): In a unanimous vote, the House Education Committee voted to send to HB150 (1st Sub.): Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Amendments to the House floor for debate. The bill, which has a $23.5 million fiscal note but will be paid for out of the General Fund, adds members to the STEM Action Center Board, adds professional development for educators and expands the scope of STEM to include more students.

Bill sponsor, Rep. Val Peterson, said that during the past year 40 schools and more than 5,000 students were involved in the program. “People are invested in this,” he said, noting that companies like Microsoft have come to the table to help with math and science skills. Although funding is now subject to the decisions of the Executive Appropriations Committee, the current proposal calls for $10 million to provide professional development for educators. “Teachers are key to making this work,” Rep. Peterson said.

HB307: Public Education Funding Task Force also passed out of the committee with a favorable recommendation. The bill creates a task force to look at long-term funding strategies for public education. The committee amended out of the bill language saying the task force would review and make recommendations regarding “imposing impact fees on new development to mitigate the cost of new school buildings.”

HB153: Study on Contribution and Credit for Education Funding passed out of committee with a favorable recommendation. The bill requires the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee to conduct a study on certain contributions and credits related to income taxes. The sponsor, Rep. Kay Christofferson, said 40,000 Utahns are subject to alternative taxes, resulting in one quarter of a billion dollars that is paid to the federal government. Rep. Christofferson said he is trying to keep the money in Utah.

House and Senate Floors (Reported by Mark Mickelsen and Mike Kelley): Utah’s National Board Certified Teachers were recognized on the floor of the Senate. They were also recognized in the House. Sen. Pat Jones said these educators represent the “cream of the crop,” explaining that they spend up to three years getting the equivalent of a master’s degree to become nationally certified. She commended them for their commitment to excellence.

Teachers recognized included Mary Alsop, Granite School District; Cozette Baddley, Canyons School District; Whitney Child, Canyons School District; Janelle Curry, Cache County School District; Alisha Darden, Salt Lake City School District; Jennifer King, Park City School District; Paula Landeen, Jordan School District; Alejandro Lopez, Tooele School District; Michelle Morgan, Granite School District; Mary Oland-Wong, Salt Lake City School District; Brigitta Petersen, Granite School District; Kaye Rizzuto, Jordan School District; Rachel Rolf, Salt Lake City School District; Anthony Romanello, Jordan School District; Albert Spencer-Wise, Canyons School District; Stephen Van Orden, Provo City School District; and Helen Wight, Canyons School District.

To celebrate NEA’s “Read Across America,” the Cat in the Hat made a special appearances in the Senate and the House. Sen. Jones recognized the National Education Association for sponsoring "Read Across America” and said it is a day to “celebrate the joy of reading.” Rep. Becky Edwards reminded everyone “you're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.” The UEA sponsored the Cat’s appearance.

House Floor (Reported by Tom Nedreberg): HB111: School Building Costs enacts language to require a local education agency to submit a capital outlay report for publication on the Utah Public Finance Website. The bill passed unanimously.

HB116 (1 Sub.) School Construction Modifications requires the State Board of Education to adopt school construction guidelines and requires school districts to take these guidelines into consideration when planning school constriction. The sponsor, Rep. Rich Cunningham, said the school superintendents were opposed to the original bill but support the substitute. The bill passed 66-2.

Senate Floor (Reported by Mark Mickelsen): The long-awaited revenue figures were read by Senator Lyle Hillyard. The figures include an additional $47 million in ongoing revenue and $11 million in one-time funds for Fiscal Year 2014-15.