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2018 UEA Legislative Priorities

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These priorities were developed in collaboration with hundreds of teachers across Utah. We urge policymakers to consider the following when contemplating legislation:

Education Funding

  • Increase the WPU by 5.5%, investing approximately $235 million in new, ongoing funding:
    • Fully fund new student growth, including all line items impacted by growth (est. $70 million);
    • Maintain current programs and levels of service (2.5% WPU / est. $75 million); and
    • Provide a 3% WPU increase (est. $90 million) to address ongoing student needs.
  • Include a significant investment in education as part of the solution to Utah’s education needs.
  • Ensure any new equalization efforts are funded through new sources of revenue and do not reduce available WPU dollars for all students.
  • Seek solutions to the chronic underfunding of public education by fixing Utah’s flawed tax structure.
  • Fund charter schools in a manner that does not reduce neighborhood school budgets, is transparent, is equitable based on student needs and provides taxpayer accountability.
  • Oppose schemes to funnel public education money to personal student accounts or privately-run entities where taxpayer accountability is lost. 

Teacher Shortage 

  • Ensure each classroom has an effective teacher by identifying and addressing the root causes of Utah’s critical teacher shortage.Invest in programs that develop a pipeline of educators into and through the teaching profession, especially in rural areas or hard-to-staff subjects or schools.
  • Create incentives to diversify the teacher workforce to better reflect Utah’s changing demographics.  
  • Maintain high standards for teacher licensure to ensure every student has a teacher who is ready to teach on day one.  
  • Invest in educator salaries to attract the best and the brightest to enter and remain in the teaching profession.
  • Reduce class sizes to allow teachers the time needed to reach and inspire individual students.
  • Provide locally determined professional development and new educator mentoring programs.

Education Policy

  • Strengthen accountability standards for charter and online schools consistent with neighborhood schools, including student performance, governance, educator evaluation and financial accountability.Halt the proliferation of charter and online schools until concerns about their impact on state and school district budgets and student academics are addressed.
  • Eliminate the misuse of student test scores to grade schools and impose consequences.
  • Ease the overwhelming workload heaped on Utah teachers by giving them more resources and autonomy, reducing the number of education bills and limiting the number of mandated initiatives. 
  • Support the direct, non-partisan election of school board members. 
  • Recognize teachers as experts on public education issues and consult with them in the development of education policy, procedures, budgets and law.

- Printable version of the 2018 UEA Legislative Priorities