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UEA Report on the 2020 Utah Legislature General Session

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WEEK FOUR: 

2020 WEEK FOUR IN REVIEW: February 18-21


Weber Education Association members met with
their Rep. Steve Waldrip in front of House chambers
The
 Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee made its final recommendation for education funding during WEEK FOUR. The recommendation included a 4% increase in the WPU and $100 million one-time funding for “Teacher Quality & Retention” to be determined by the Utah State Board of Education. Bills moving through the legislative process this week would implement a new private school voucher program, expand optional kindergarten, provide an educator tax credit for school supplies and more.

Budget proposal adds 4% on the WPU

The Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee made its final recommendations for education funding priorities. The recommended priorities include a 4% increase on the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) and one-time funding for $10 million of the $20 million requested by the UEA for the teacher preparation scholarships. The subcommittee chairs also recommended $100 million for “Teacher Quality & Retention” to be determined by the Utah State Board of Education. All subcommittee recommendations will be considered by the Executive Appropriations Committee, with final funding decisions made in a few weeks.

New private school voucher bill passes House committee


Rep. Suzanne Harrison meets with Murray
Education Association member Alison Jacobson
They're back! HB332: Special Needs Scholarship Amendments would create the Special Needs Opportunity Scholarship Program and provide an income tax credit. The UEA strongly opposes this bill because it operates like a voucher, taking money from the education fund and sending it to private schools with little taxpayer accountability. The bill based the House Revenue and Taxation Committee on a vote of 9-2. It now goes to the full House for consideration.

House reverses direction and passes teacher bonus tied to test scores

HB107 (3rd sub.): Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program Amendments expands an existing program that provides a stipend to highly effective teachers who teach in a high poverty school. The original bill would qualify K-3 teachers for the stipend by using an assessment like Acadience (formerly DIBELS). It failed in the House Feb. 20 on a vote of 28-45. After changing the bill to exclude kindergarten teachers it passed Feb. 21 on a vote of 54-16. It now goes to the Senate for consideration. The UEA opposes the bill because it uses a student test score to reward a few teachers rather than investing in instructional coaches, paraeducators, counselors or librarians to create effective instruction and student support throughout an entire school.

Recognition for Education Support Professionals

Several measures honoring and recognizing Education Support Professionals in schools are on their way to the Governor. HCR5: Concurrent Resolution Designating Utah Education Support Professionals Day and HB148: Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Awards Program express support for education support professionals in Utah schools. HJR2: Joint Resolution Recognizing School Bus Drivers supports the recognition of Utah school bus drivers for their dedication, leadership, student and parent relationships and technical skills.

OEK expansion and educator tax credit among bills moving forward; bid to end HS civics test fails

HB99 (2nd sub.): Enhanced Kindergarten Amendments expands the availability of Optional Extended-day Kindergarten (OEK) programs with an additional $18 million in funding. It also clarifies assessment and reporting requirements for OEK programs. The UEA supports this bill because a key UEA legislative priority is to improve student equity and access to quality education for students at academic risk, which the OEK program has been very successful in doing. It passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.


Rep. LaWanna Shurtliff meets with Salt Lake
Education Association members during EDOH
HB152 (1st sub.): Civic Education Testing Amendments originally would have eliminated the civics test required for high school graduation. The bill was substituted on a vote of 41-29 with language that would create a Civics and History Education Study Group to study and make recommendations for strengthening civics and history education in public schools. The substitute bill failed in the House on a vote of 18-50.

SB69 (3rd sub.): Tax Credit for Educator Expenses would provide a refundable individual income tax credit up to $500 that an eligible teacher may claim for certain out-of-pocket classroom expenses. The bill passed the Senate on a vote of 17-9 and now goes to the House for consideration.

HCR3: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Consideration of a Later Start Time for High School encourages local school boards to consider a later start time for high schools. The bill passed the Senate and now goes to the Governor for signature.

HB242 (1st sub.): Charter School Operations Amendments is a significant bill that clarifies procedures for approval, oversight and closure of charter schools. For example, Utah is the only state that does not have a probation period for new charter schools. The bill creates an “initial approval” for a three-year review period to ensure proper accounting controls and oversight are in place before granting either final approval or termination of a charter. The UEA supports this bill. It passed the House Education Committee unanimously and now goes to the full House for consideration.

HB77: Education Funding Amendments would cap the “WPU value rate,” which was created as part of the TSSA program, at 4%. The WPU value rate provides that for every 1% increase in the WPU there would be a corresponding increase in local property tax rates without having to go to Truth-in-Taxation hearings. The bill passed the House Education Committee unanimously and now goes to the full House.

SB119 (1st sub.): School Accountability Amendments provides that for the 2018-19 school year the State Board of Education is not required to publish a single letter grade for schools. The bill came about because of concerns with widespread problems that occurred during 2019 RISE student testing. The UEA supports permanent elimination of school grades. The bill passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously.

Teachers participate in evening training as part Educator Day on the Hill


Rep. Robert Spendlove was among several legislators
who stopped by to speak with EDOH participant
The fourth Educator Day on the Hill session of 2020 kicked off Thursday evening with more than 40 teachers from Murray, Salt Lake, Sevier and Weber Education Associations meeting to learn about the legislative process during an EDOH-plus meeting. Teachers received a brief explanation about what to expect and how the legislative process works.

It was a full house on Friday with about 75 educators and education support professionals participating from a dozen school districts, many participating for the first time. The group also included several Utah Teachers of the Year. During the morning briefing and afternoon debrief, several dignitaries stopped by, including: Rep. Robert Spendlove, Sen. Kathleen Riebe, Rep. Joel Briscoe, State Superintendent Syd Dickson and Utah School Superintendents Association Executive Director Terry Shoemaker. Each expressed their appreciation for teachers taking their time to communicate with legislators.

UEA Policy Ambassadors share messages


C.J. Gebhardt, here meeting with Rep. Steve Eliason,
is one of nineteen 
2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here are excerpts from this week’s new submissions...

  • Tax Reform Should Be Legislative Refocus - Students Educational Needs Should Be Firstby UEA Policy Ambassador Annette Croucher, teacher at Fossil Ridge Intermediate School in Washington County School District
    “As a special education teacher in Washington County, I see first-hand how many of my students’ families are not able to fully support themselves. These families often require added support from our local schools and the school district to maintain their basic needs. If SB2001 (the tax reform law passed in December) had gone into effect as passed, the impact would have been detrimental to all of the students in my classroom and in my school”…read the full article from Annette Croucher
  • Blockages in Utah’s Teacher Pipeline: Increasing Teacher Pay is Essentialby UEA Policy Ambassador Sarah Jones, teacher at Centerville Junior High School in Davis School District“As a TAP 1 (Teaching as a Profession) teacher, I can testify that it’s easy to get students excited about the prospect of becoming a teacher. Young people today are eager to make a positive difference in the lives of others, work towards equity and inclusion, and share an interesting subject area. The barrier, however, is nearly always salary”…read the full article from Sarah Jones
  • Change Starts with Usby UEA Policy Ambassador C.J. Gebhardt, teacher at West Kearns Elementary School in Granite School District
  • “Walking into the Copper Room where we meet for Educator Day on the Hill (EDOH), I always get this feeling of importance, that something great is going to happen in the next six hours. This year was no different. I walked into EDOH with a confidence that I have never had before. I knew I wanted to change something, or influence somebody, and hopefully that happened”…read the full article from C.J. Gebhardt

House reverses direction and passes teacher bonus tied to test scores, committee approves voucher bill – February 21, 2020

Educator Day on the Hill (reported by Mike Kelley): The fourth Educator Day on the Hill session of 2020 kicked off Thursday night with more than 40 teachers from Murray, Salt Lake, Sevier and Weber Education Associations meeting to learn about the legislative process during an EDOH-plus meeting. Teachers received a brief explanation about what to expect and how the legislative process works.

It was a full house on Friday with about 75 educators and education support professionals participating from a dozen school districts, many participating for the first time. Participants were from Alpine, Canyons, Davis, Granite, Jordan, Murray, Nebo, Ogden, Park City, Salt Lake, Sevier, Tooele, Washington and Weber Education Associations as well as UEA-retired and the Utah School Employees Association. The group also included several Utah Teachers of the Year.

During the morning briefing and afternoon debrief, several dignitaries stopped by, including: Rep. Robert Spendlove, Sen. Kathleen Riebe, Rep. Joel Briscoe, State Superintendent Syd Dickson and Utah School Superintendents Association Executive Director Terry Shoemaker. Each expressed their appreciation for teachers taking their time to communicate with legislators. Rep. Spendlove, a member of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, shared information about the public education budget and his proposal to use one-time money to endow a teacher scholarship.

Senate Education Committee: Several UEA-tracked bills were heard and passed in the committee. All now go to the full Senate for consideration:

HB205: Students with Disabilities Amendments amends a formula related to add-on weighted pupil units for students with disabilities. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously.

SB124: American Indian and Alaskan Native Education Amendments replaces two pilot programs with an ongoing program administered by the State Board of Education consisting of a grant program to school districts and charter schools to be used to fund stipends, recruitment, retention, and professional development of teachers who teach in American Indian and Alaskan Native concentrated schools. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously and now goes to the full Senate.

SB126: School Board Vacancy Amendments extends the length of time a local school board has to fill a midterm vacancy on the local school board if the midterm vacancy is due to the death of a local school board member. The bill passed unanimously.

SB113: Arts Program Funding Amendments provides for an annual appropriations increase for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Elementary Arts Learning Program in certain circumstances. The bill passed with one no vote.

SB151: Accelerated Student Program Amendments removes early college programs from the Enhancement for Accelerated Students Program; creates a funding formula for early college programs; and provides for funding distribution formulas for the Enhancement for Accelerated Students Program and early college programs. The bill passed unanimously.

HB14 (2nd sub.): School Absenteeism and Truancy Amendments establishes which absences from school are considered in determining if a minor is truant; replaces ages to which certain provisions related to truancy apply with grade levels to which the provisions apply; and limits the conditions under which a school district or charter school may impose administrative penalties on a school-age child who is truant. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously.

HB99 (2nd sub.): Enhanced Kindergarten Amendments clarifies assessment and reporting requirements for optional extended-day Kindergarten programs and seeks to expand the availability of OEK programs with an additional $18 million in funding. The UEA supports this bill because a key UEA legislative priority is to improve student equity and access to quality education for students at academic risk, which the OEK program has been very successful in doing. It passed unanimously.

House Revenue and Taxation Committee (reported by Jay Blain): HB332: Special Needs Scholarship Amendments would create the Special Needs Opportunity Scholarship Program and provide an income tax credit. The UEA strongly opposes this because it operates like a voucher, taking money from the education fund and sending it to private schools with no taxpayer accountability. Several spoke in favor of the bill citing failures of public schools to fully meet student needs. Jay Blain, representing the UEA, was one of several who spoke against the bill. He noted that private schools have the choice to exclude students based on beliefs, religion, creed or sexual orientation, whereas public schools are open to everyone. Rather than trying to provide for a few students, we should increase funding for ALL students, he said. The bill based the committee in a vote of 9-2. It now goes to the full House for consideration.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB107 (3rd sub.): Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program Amendments expands an existing program that provides a stipend to highly effective teachers who teach in a high poverty school. The original bill would qualify K-3 teachers for the stipend by using an assessment like Acadience (formerly DIBELS). It originally failed in the House Feb. 20 on a vote of 28-45. After changing the bill to exclude kindergarten teachers it passed on a vote of 54-16. The UEA opposes the bill because it uses a student test score to reward a few teachers rather than investing in instructional coaches, paraeducators, counselors or librarians to create effective instruction and student support throughout an entire school.

HB152 (1st sub.): Civic Education Testing Amendments originally would have eliminated the civics test required for high school graduation. The bill was substituted on a vote of 41-29 with language that would create a Civics and History Education Study Group to study and make recommendations for strengthening civics and history education in public schools. The substitute bill failed on a vote of 18-50.


Participants in the Early Leadership Institute were
among attendees at the Feb. 21 Educator Day on the Hill. 
Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): SB69 (3rd sub.): Tax Credit for Educator Expenses would provide a refundable individual income tax credit up to $500 that an eligible teacher may claim for certain out-of-pocket classroom expenses. After considerable discussion, primarily focused on providing adequate funding to cover classroom expenses versus a tax credit, the bill passed on a vote of 17-9 and now goes to the House for consideration.

HCR3: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Consideration of a Later Start Time for High School encourages local school boards to consider a later start time for high schools. The bill passed with one no vote and now goes to the Governor for signature.

HCR5: Concurrent Resolution Designating Utah Education Support Professionals Day and HB148: Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Awards Program express support for education support professionals in Utah schools. Both passed unanimously.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 21, 2020


C.J. Gebhardt, here meeting with Rep. Steve Eliason,
is one of nineteen 
2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission...

Change Starts with Us – Legislative post by UEA Policy Ambassador C.J. Gebhardt

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador C.J. Gebhardt, sixth-grade teacher at West Kearns Elementary School in Granite School District

“Walking into the Copper Room where we meet for Educator Day on the Hill (EDOH), I always get this feeling of importance, that something great is going to happen in the next six hours. This year was no different. I walked into EDOH with a confidence that I have never had before. I knew I wanted to change something, or influence somebody, and hopefully that happened.”

“…Starting EDOH three years ago as an Aspiring Educator has opened quite a few doors for me. I’ve become a caring human being and a quality educator. This experience, especially with this being my first year as an educator, has been transformational in my life. When educators step up, we can make a difference, and I’ve experienced that firsthand.”


Teacher bonus tied to test scores fails in the House – February 20, 2020

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): Three bills heard in the committee all passed unanimously and now go to the full House for consideration:

HB242 (1st sub.): Charter School Operations Amendments was presented by Rep. Jefferson Moss. This is a significant bill that clarifies procedures for approval, oversight and closure of charter schools. For example, Utah is the only state that does not have a probation period for new charter schools. The bill creates an “initial approval” for a three-year review period to ensure proper accounting controls and oversight are in place before granting either final approval or termination of a charter. During public comment Carol Lear, a member of the State Board of Education, spoke about the constitutional authority of the State Board for general control and supervision of all public schools, including charter schools. She stated she wished the bill included more clarification of the oversight responsibility of the State Board to ensure better cooperation and compliance by the State Charter School Board. John Dougall, state auditor, stated his concern that the bill does not address a “significant gap in governance” that exists because the State Board of Education controls funding and oversight while the State Charter School Board authorizes charters. He said that having two different boards will continue to create problems.

HB315: Local School Board Vacancies Amendments was presented by Rep. Joel Briscoe. The bill extends the length of time a local school board has to fill a midterm vacancy if the vacancy is due to the death of a local school board member. This recently occurred when a member of the Salt Lake City school board passed away and the seat had to be filled quickly because of current requirements in statute.

SB79: Regional Education Service Agencies changes existing Regional Service Centers to Regional Education Service Agencies, giving them a status similar to districts. For example, they would now be allowed to receive grants and manage programs that currently only flow to districts and charter schools.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB107 (2nd sub.): Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program Amendments expands an existing program that provides a stipend to highly effective teachers who teach in a high poverty school. Teachers qualify for the stipend based on student standardized test scores. The bill would qualify K-3 teachers by using an assessment like Acadience (formerly DIBELS). The UEA opposes the bill because it uses a student test score to reward a few teachers rather than investing in instructional coaches, paraeducators, counselors or librarians to create effective instruction and student support throughout an entire school. The bill failed on a vote of 28-45.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HJR2: Joint Resolution Recognizing School Bus Drivers supports the recognition of Utah school bus drivers for their dedication, leadership, student and parent relationships and technical skills. It passed unanimously and now goes to the Governor for signature.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 20, 2020


Sarah Jones (right) is one of nineteen
2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission...

Blockages in Utah’s Teacher Pipeline: Increasing Teacher Pay is Essential

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Sarah Jones, English and reading teacher at Centerville Junior High School in Davis School District

“As a TAP 1 (Teaching as a Profession) teacher, I can testify that it’s easy to get students excited about the prospect of becoming a teacher. Young people today are eager to make a positive difference in the lives of others, work towards equity and inclusion, and share an interesting subject area. The barrier, however, is nearly always salary.

“In eighth grade, students complete a ‘reality check’ on Utahfutures.org, where they see how much their life as an adult will cost. Then, when they compare their potential expenses to the average salary of a first year (or even tenth year) teacher, TAP students realize the numbers simply don’t add up. Their dream of becoming a teacher means significant sacrifices and many excellent students take teaching off their list of potential professions.”


Education bills heard in non-education committees – February 19, 2020

Law Enforcement Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HB171 (1st sub.): School Threat Amendments was presented by Rep. Andrew Stoddard . The bill creates a new category of misdemeanor crime of threats against preK-12 schools. Rep. Stoddard stated that the legislation would not increase the school to prison pipeline because the bill does not require a minor to be referred to the juvenile justice system. Instead, a threat against a school by a student can be handled within the school system through a restorative justice process “to help children make changes in their lives without branding them a criminal”. Rep. Kim Coleman proposed to amend the bill by removing all references to and requirements for engaging in a restorative justice process. Rep. Sandra Hollins opposed the amendment stating that it would “gut the bill”. Rep. Stoddard stated this was the “crux of the bill” and a proven practice. He wants the bill to indicate to schools that court is not the only option or the first line of defense for schools. Rep. Casey Snider stated that restorative justice has not worked in his district and people are not learning consequences. The amendment proposed by Rep. Coleman passed and the committee moved on to the next agenda item without taking a final vote on the bill.

Transportation Committee (reported by Jay Blain): HB236 (1st sub.): Safe School Route Evaluations would have the school traffic safety committees submit child access routing plans to UDOT, municipal and county highway authorities. They would also include recommendations for infrastructure in the plans. The authorities would then communicate back the time and cost associated with the recommendations. Rep. Marsha Judkins said that this coordination and communication would lessen the frustration of schools around wanting improvements to safety with no feedback. The Utah League of Cities and Towns and the Utah School Boards Association support the bill. The bill passed the committee unanimously.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Two education bills passed the Senate unanimously and now go to the House for consideration:

SB93 (1st sub.): Math and Science Opportunities for Students and Teachers requests an additional $4.8 million to expand the USTAR program and changes the name to the Math and Science Opportunities for Students and Teachers (MOST) program. The MOST program allows schools to offer expanded science and math programing for secondary students. Currently 95% of funds must go to teacher salaries and benefits. This bill expands the definition of “teacher” to “educator” to include coaches and other instructional personnel.

SB99: School Leadership Development Amendments requests $15 million for districts and charters to apply for grants to provide professional learning, training and mentoring for new principals and “aspiring” principals to improve principal leadership.


4% WPU increase recommended by Public Ed Appropriations – February 18, 2020

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Jay Blain): The subcommittee finalized funding priorities to submit to the Executive Appropriations Committee. The recommended priorities include a 4% increase on the WPU and one-time funding for $10 million of the $20 million requested by the UEA for the teacher preparation scholarships. The subcommittee chairs also recommended $100 million for “Teacher Quality & Retention” to be determined by the Utah State Board of Education.

During the meeting, several school districts presented on their uses of Teacher and Student Success Account funds:

  • In presenting information from Logan School District, Frank Schofield noted that the teacher is the most important school-level factor. Logan District’s plan directed 40% of their TSSA for teacher salary enhancement. They also promoted teacher development. Each school added three paid days to teachers’ work schedules. Schools decide how to do the professional development.
  • Tracy Miller, Mike Anderson and Brian Veazie said Jordan School District elected to not hold any money at the district level for teacher compensation. Miller said they sought feedback from School Community School Councils. Principals have felt supported, they said. Veazie says that they hired more teachers to reduce class sizes.
  • Sevier School District Board President Richard Orr, Superintendent Cade Douglas, Chad Johnson and Business Administrator Chad Lloyd presented next. Douglas finished by asking for a well-funded WPU.
  • Weilenmann School of Discovery charter school Director Cindy Phillips and Dean of Students Steve Williams presented last. Phillips asked for more flexibility on the salary portion of TSSA money.

Here are the motion sheets from the subcommittee.

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HB77: Education Funding Amendments was presented by Rep. Norman Thurston. The bill would cap the “WPU value rate,” which was created as part of the TSSA program, at 4%. The WPU value rate provides that for every 1% increase in the WPU there would be a corresponding increase in local property tax rates without having to go to truth in taxation. The concern is that legislators might hesitate to increase the WPU because of the impact on local property tax. The bill passed the committee unanimously and now goes to the full House.

Senate Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): Four items heard in the committee all passed unanimously:

SB119 (1st sub.): School Accountability Amendments was presented by Sen. Deidre Henderson. The bill provides that for the 2018-19 school year the State Board of Education is not required to publish a single letter grade for schools. Because of concerns with widespread problems that occurred during 2019 RISE student testing, in the fall UEA asked the Board to seek “statutory flexibility” from having to publish school letter grades. The Board voted to pursue that action and SB119 is a result of that vote. Sara Jones, speaking on behalf of UEA, expressed support for the bill because of the strong public perception that the results of the testing data are deeply flawed.

HCR5: Concurrent Resolution Designating Utah Education Support Professionals Day and HB148: Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Awards Program were both presented by Rep. Lee Perry. Both the bill and resolution express support for education support professionals in Utah schools. Jay Blain, UEA, spoke in favor of the bill saying that in his 20 years of teaching he couldn’t have done is job without the hard work of Education Support Professionals.

HCR3: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Consideration of a Later Start Time for High School was presented by Rep. Suzanne Harrison. The resolution encourages local school boards to consider a later start time for high schools.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 18, 2020


Annette Croucher (second row center) is one of
nineteen 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission...

Tax Reform Should Be Legislative Refocus - Students Educational Needs Should Be First

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Annette Croucher, special education teacher at Fossil Ridge Intermediate School in Washington County School District

“As a special education teacher in Washington County, I see first-hand how many of my students’ families are not able to fully support themselves. These families often require added support from our local schools and the school district to maintain their basic needs. If SB2001 (the tax reform law passed in December) had gone into effect as passed, the impact would have been detrimental to all of the students in my classroom and in my school.

…This tax reform that was passed by our Legislature did more harm than good for most Utah families. As Utahns we need to stand up for our children and the free education they are guaranteed. Without an education, our students will be unable to maintain the state that we all love and cherish in the years to come.”


House reverses direction and passes teacher bonus tied to test scores, committee approves voucher bill – February 21, 2020

Educator Day on the Hill (reported by Mike Kelley): The fourth Educator Day on the Hill session of 2020 kicked off Thursday night with more than 40 teachers from Murray, Salt Lake, Sevier and Weber Education Associations meeting to learn about the legislative process during an EDOH-plus meeting. Teachers received a brief explanation about what to expect and how the legislative process works.

It was a full house on Friday with about 75 educators and education support professionals participating from a dozen school districts, many participating for the first time. Participants were from Alpine, Canyons, Davis, Granite, Jordan, Murray, Nebo, Ogden, Park City, Salt Lake, Sevier, Tooele, Washington and Weber Education Associations as well as UEA-retired and the Utah School Employees Association. The group also included several Utah Teachers of the Year.

During the morning briefing and afternoon debrief, several dignitaries stopped by, including: Rep. Robert Spendlove, Sen. Kathleen Riebe, Rep. Joel Briscoe, State Superintendent Syd Dickson and Utah School Superintendents Association Executive Director Terry Shoemaker. Each expressed their appreciation for teachers taking their time to communicate with legislators. Rep. Spendlove, a member of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, shared information about the public education budget and his proposal to use one-time money to endow a teacher scholarship.

Senate Education Committee: Several UEA-tracked bills were heard and passed in the committee. All now go to the full Senate for consideration:

HB205: Students with Disabilities Amendments amends a formula related to add-on weighted pupil units for students with disabilities. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously.

SB124: American Indian and Alaskan Native Education Amendments replaces two pilot programs with an ongoing program administered by the State Board of Education consisting of a grant program to school districts and charter schools to be used to fund stipends, recruitment, retention, and professional development of teachers who teach in American Indian and Alaskan Native concentrated schools. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously and now goes to the full Senate.

SB126: School Board Vacancy Amendments extends the length of time a local school board has to fill a midterm vacancy on the local school board if the midterm vacancy is due to the death of a local school board member. The bill passed unanimously.

SB113: Arts Program Funding Amendments provides for an annual appropriations increase for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Elementary Arts Learning Program in certain circumstances. The bill passed with one no vote.

SB151: Accelerated Student Program Amendments removes early college programs from the Enhancement for Accelerated Students Program; creates a funding formula for early college programs; and provides for funding distribution formulas for the Enhancement for Accelerated Students Program and early college programs. The bill passed unanimously.

HB14 (2nd sub.): School Absenteeism and Truancy Amendments establishes which absences from school are considered in determining if a minor is truant; replaces ages to which certain provisions related to truancy apply with grade levels to which the provisions apply; and limits the conditions under which a school district or charter school may impose administrative penalties on a school-age child who is truant. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously.

HB99 (2nd sub.): Enhanced Kindergarten Amendments clarifies assessment and reporting requirements for optional extended-day Kindergarten programs and seeks to expand the availability of OEK programs with an additional $18 million in funding. The UEA supports this bill because a key UEA legislative priority is to improve student equity and access to quality education for students at academic risk, which the OEK program has been very successful in doing. It passed unanimously.

House Revenue and Taxation Committee (reported by Jay Blain): HB332: Special Needs Scholarship Amendments would create the Special Needs Opportunity Scholarship Program and provide an income tax credit. The UEA strongly opposes this because it operates like a voucher, taking money from the education fund and sending it to private schools with no taxpayer accountability. Several spoke in favor of the bill citing failures of public schools to fully meet student needs. Jay Blain, representing the UEA, was one of several who spoke against the bill. He noted that private schools have the choice to exclude students based on beliefs, religion, creed or sexual orientation, whereas public schools are open to everyone. Rather than trying to provide for a few students, we should increase funding for ALL students, he said. The bill based the committee in a vote of 9-2. It now goes to the full House for consideration.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB107 (3rd sub.): Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program Amendments expands an existing program that provides a stipend to highly effective teachers who teach in a high poverty school. The original bill would qualify K-3 teachers for the stipend by using an assessment like Acadience (formerly DIBELS). It originally failed in the House Feb. 20 on a vote of 28-45. After changing the bill to exclude kindergarten teachers it passed on a vote of 54-16. The UEA opposes the bill because it uses a student test score to reward a few teachers rather than investing in instructional coaches, paraeducators, counselors or librarians to create effective instruction and student support throughout an entire school.

HB152 (1st sub.): Civic Education Testing Amendments originally would have eliminated the civics test required for high school graduation. The bill was substituted on a vote of 41-29 with language that would create a Civics and History Education Study Group to study and make recommendations for strengthening civics and history education in public schools. The substitute bill failed on a vote of 18-50.


Participants in the Early Leadership Institute were
among attendees at the Feb. 21 Educator Day on the Hill. 
Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): SB69 (3rd sub.): Tax Credit for Educator Expenses would provide a refundable individual income tax credit up to $500 that an eligible teacher may claim for certain out-of-pocket classroom expenses. After considerable discussion, primarily focused on providing adequate funding to cover classroom expenses versus a tax credit, the bill passed on a vote of 17-9 and now goes to the House for consideration.

HCR3: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Consideration of a Later Start Time for High School encourages local school boards to consider a later start time for high schools. The bill passed with one no vote and now goes to the Governor for signature.

HCR5: Concurrent Resolution Designating Utah Education Support Professionals Day and HB148: Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Awards Program express support for education support professionals in Utah schools. Both passed unanimously.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 21, 2020


C.J. Gebhardt, here meeting with Rep. Steve Eliason,
is one of nineteen 
2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission...

Change Starts with Us – Legislative post by UEA Policy Ambassador C.J. Gebhardt

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador C.J. Gebhardt, sixth-grade teacher at West Kearns Elementary School in Granite School District

“Walking into the Copper Room where we meet for Educator Day on the Hill (EDOH), I always get this feeling of importance, that something great is going to happen in the next six hours. This year was no different. I walked into EDOH with a confidence that I have never had before. I knew I wanted to change something, or influence somebody, and hopefully that happened.”

“…Starting EDOH three years ago as an Aspiring Educator has opened quite a few doors for me. I’ve become a caring human being and a quality educator. This experience, especially with this being my first year as an educator, has been transformational in my life. When educators step up, we can make a difference, and I’ve experienced that firsthand.”


Teacher bonus tied to test scores fails in the House – February 20, 2020

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): Three bills heard in the committee all passed unanimously and now go to the full House for consideration:

HB242 (1st sub.): Charter School Operations Amendments was presented by Rep. Jefferson Moss. This is a significant bill that clarifies procedures for approval, oversight and closure of charter schools. For example, Utah is the only state that does not have a probation period for new charter schools. The bill creates an “initial approval” for a three-year review period to ensure proper accounting controls and oversight are in place before granting either final approval or termination of a charter. During public comment Carol Lear, a member of the State Board of Education, spoke about the constitutional authority of the State Board for general control and supervision of all public schools, including charter schools. She stated she wished the bill included more clarification of the oversight responsibility of the State Board to ensure better cooperation and compliance by the State Charter School Board. John Dougall, state auditor, stated his concern that the bill does not address a “significant gap in governance” that exists because the State Board of Education controls funding and oversight while the State Charter School Board authorizes charters. He said that having two different boards will continue to create problems.

HB315: Local School Board Vacancies Amendments was presented by Rep. Joel Briscoe. The bill extends the length of time a local school board has to fill a midterm vacancy if the vacancy is due to the death of a local school board member. This recently occurred when a member of the Salt Lake City school board passed away and the seat had to be filled quickly because of current requirements in statute.

SB79: Regional Education Service Agencies changes existing Regional Service Centers to Regional Education Service Agencies, giving them a status similar to districts. For example, they would now be allowed to receive grants and manage programs that currently only flow to districts and charter schools.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB107 (2nd sub.): Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program Amendments expands an existing program that provides a stipend to highly effective teachers who teach in a high poverty school. Teachers qualify for the stipend based on student standardized test scores. The bill would qualify K-3 teachers by using an assessment like Acadience (formerly DIBELS). The UEA opposes the bill because it uses a student test score to reward a few teachers rather than investing in instructional coaches, paraeducators, counselors or librarians to create effective instruction and student support throughout an entire school. The bill failed on a vote of 28-45.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HJR2: Joint Resolution Recognizing School Bus Drivers supports the recognition of Utah school bus drivers for their dedication, leadership, student and parent relationships and technical skills. It passed unanimously and now goes to the Governor for signature.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 20, 2020


Sarah Jones (right) is one of nineteen
2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission...

Blockages in Utah’s Teacher Pipeline: Increasing Teacher Pay is Essential

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Sarah Jones, English and reading teacher at Centerville Junior High School in Davis School District

“As a TAP 1 (Teaching as a Profession) teacher, I can testify that it’s easy to get students excited about the prospect of becoming a teacher. Young people today are eager to make a positive difference in the lives of others, work towards equity and inclusion, and share an interesting subject area. The barrier, however, is nearly always salary.

“In eighth grade, students complete a ‘reality check’ on Utahfutures.org, where they see how much their life as an adult will cost. Then, when they compare their potential expenses to the average salary of a first year (or even tenth year) teacher, TAP students realize the numbers simply don’t add up. Their dream of becoming a teacher means significant sacrifices and many excellent students take teaching off their list of potential professions.”


Education bills heard in non-education committees – February 19, 2020

Law Enforcement Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HB171 (1st sub.): School Threat Amendments was presented by Rep. Andrew Stoddard . The bill creates a new category of misdemeanor crime of threats against preK-12 schools. Rep. Stoddard stated that the legislation would not increase the school to prison pipeline because the bill does not require a minor to be referred to the juvenile justice system. Instead, a threat against a school by a student can be handled within the school system through a restorative justice process “to help children make changes in their lives without branding them a criminal”. Rep. Kim Coleman proposed to amend the bill by removing all references to and requirements for engaging in a restorative justice process. Rep. Sandra Hollins opposed the amendment stating that it would “gut the bill”. Rep. Stoddard stated this was the “crux of the bill” and a proven practice. He wants the bill to indicate to schools that court is not the only option or the first line of defense for schools. Rep. Casey Snider stated that restorative justice has not worked in his district and people are not learning consequences. The amendment proposed by Rep. Coleman passed and the committee moved on to the next agenda item without taking a final vote on the bill.

Transportation Committee (reported by Jay Blain): HB236 (1st sub.): Safe School Route Evaluations would have the school traffic safety committees submit child access routing plans to UDOT, municipal and county highway authorities. They would also include recommendations for infrastructure in the plans. The authorities would then communicate back the time and cost associated with the recommendations. Rep. Marsha Judkins said that this coordination and communication would lessen the frustration of schools around wanting improvements to safety with no feedback. The Utah League of Cities and Towns and the Utah School Boards Association support the bill. The bill passed the committee unanimously.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Two education bills passed the Senate unanimously and now go to the House for consideration:

SB93 (1st sub.): Math and Science Opportunities for Students and Teachers requests an additional $4.8 million to expand the USTAR program and changes the name to the Math and Science Opportunities for Students and Teachers (MOST) program. The MOST program allows schools to offer expanded science and math programing for secondary students. Currently 95% of funds must go to teacher salaries and benefits. This bill expands the definition of “teacher” to “educator” to include coaches and other instructional personnel.

SB99: School Leadership Development Amendments requests $15 million for districts and charters to apply for grants to provide professional learning, training and mentoring for new principals and “aspiring” principals to improve principal leadership.


4% WPU increase recommended by Public Ed Appropriations – February 18, 2020

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Jay Blain): The subcommittee finalized funding priorities to submit to the Executive Appropriations Committee. The recommended priorities include a 4% increase on the WPU and one-time funding for $10 million of the $20 million requested by the UEA for the teacher preparation scholarships. The subcommittee chairs also recommended $100 million for “Teacher Quality & Retention” to be determined by the Utah State Board of Education.

During the meeting, several school districts presented on their uses of Teacher and Student Success Account funds:

  • In presenting information from Logan School District, Frank Schofield noted that the teacher is the most important school-level factor. Logan District’s plan directed 40% of their TSSA for teacher salary enhancement. They also promoted teacher development. Each school added three paid days to teachers’ work schedules. Schools decide how to do the professional development.
  • Tracy Miller, Mike Anderson and Brian Veazie said Jordan School District elected to not hold any money at the district level for teacher compensation. Miller said they sought feedback from School Community School Councils. Principals have felt supported, they said. Veazie says that they hired more teachers to reduce class sizes.
  • Sevier School District Board President Richard Orr, Superintendent Cade Douglas, Chad Johnson and Business Administrator Chad Lloyd presented next. Douglas finished by asking for a well-funded WPU.
  • Weilenmann School of Discovery charter school Director Cindy Phillips and Dean of Students Steve Williams presented last. Phillips asked for more flexibility on the salary portion of TSSA money.

Here are the motion sheets from the subcommittee.

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HB77: Education Funding Amendments was presented by Rep. Norman Thurston. The bill would cap the “WPU value rate,” which was created as part of the TSSA program, at 4%. The WPU value rate provides that for every 1% increase in the WPU there would be a corresponding increase in local property tax rates without having to go to truth in taxation. The concern is that legislators might hesitate to increase the WPU because of the impact on local property tax. The bill passed the committee unanimously and now goes to the full House.

Senate Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): Four items heard in the committee all passed unanimously:

SB119 (1st sub.): School Accountability Amendments was presented by Sen. Deidre Henderson. The bill provides that for the 2018-19 school year the State Board of Education is not required to publish a single letter grade for schools. Because of concerns with widespread problems that occurred during 2019 RISE student testing, in the fall UEA asked the Board to seek “statutory flexibility” from having to publish school letter grades. The Board voted to pursue that action and SB119 is a result of that vote. Sara Jones, speaking on behalf of UEA, expressed support for the bill because of the strong public perception that the results of the testing data are deeply flawed.

HCR5: Concurrent Resolution Designating Utah Education Support Professionals Day and HB148: Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Awards Program were both presented by Rep. Lee Perry. Both the bill and resolution express support for education support professionals in Utah schools. Jay Blain, UEA, spoke in favor of the bill saying that in his 20 years of teaching he couldn’t have done is job without the hard work of Education Support Professionals.

HCR3: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Consideration of a Later Start Time for High School was presented by Rep. Suzanne Harrison. The resolution encourages local school boards to consider a later start time for high schools.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 18, 2020


Annette Croucher (second row center) is one of
nineteen 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission...

Tax Reform Should Be Legislative Refocus - Students Educational Needs Should Be First

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Annette Croucher, special education teacher at Fossil Ridge Intermediate School in Washington County School District

“As a special education teacher in Washington County, I see first-hand how many of my students’ families are not able to fully support themselves. These families often require added support from our local schools and the school district to maintain their basic needs. If SB2001 (the tax reform law passed in December) had gone into effect as passed, the impact would have been detrimental to all of the students in my classroom and in my school.

…This tax reform that was passed by our Legislature did more harm than good for most Utah families. As Utahns we need to stand up for our children and the free education they are guaranteed. Without an education, our students will be unable to maintain the state that we all love and cherish in the years to come.”

House reverses direction and passes teacher bonus tied to test scores, committee approves voucher bill – February 21, 2020

Educator Day on the Hill (reported by Mike Kelley): The fourth Educator Day on the Hill session of 2020 kicked off Thursday night with more than 40 teachers from Murray, Salt Lake, Sevier and Weber Education Associations meeting to learn about the legislative process during an EDOH-plus meeting. Teachers received a brief explanation about what to expect and how the legislative process works.

It was a full house on Friday with about 75 educators and education support professionals participating from a dozen school districts, many participating for the first time. Participants were from Alpine, Canyons, Davis, Granite, Jordan, Murray, Nebo, Ogden, Park City, Salt Lake, Sevier, Tooele, Washington and Weber Education Associations as well as UEA-retired and the Utah School Employees Association. The group also included several Utah Teachers of the Year.

During the morning briefing and afternoon debrief, several dignitaries stopped by, including: Rep. Robert Spendlove, Sen. Kathleen Riebe, Rep. Joel Briscoe, State Superintendent Syd Dickson and Utah School Superintendents Association Executive Director Terry Shoemaker. Each expressed their appreciation for teachers taking their time to communicate with legislators. Rep. Spendlove, a member of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, shared information about the public education budget and his proposal to use one-time money to endow a teacher scholarship.

Senate Education Committee: Several UEA-tracked bills were heard and passed in the committee. All now go to the full Senate for consideration:

HB205: Students with Disabilities Amendments amends a formula related to add-on weighted pupil units for students with disabilities. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously.

SB124: American Indian and Alaskan Native Education Amendments replaces two pilot programs with an ongoing program administered by the State Board of Education consisting of a grant program to school districts and charter schools to be used to fund stipends, recruitment, retention, and professional development of teachers who teach in American Indian and Alaskan Native concentrated schools. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously and now goes to the full Senate.

SB126: School Board Vacancy Amendments extends the length of time a local school board has to fill a midterm vacancy on the local school board if the midterm vacancy is due to the death of a local school board member. The bill passed unanimously.

SB113: Arts Program Funding Amendments provides for an annual appropriations increase for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Elementary Arts Learning Program in certain circumstances. The bill passed with one no vote.

SB151: Accelerated Student Program Amendments removes early college programs from the Enhancement for Accelerated Students Program; creates a funding formula for early college programs; and provides for funding distribution formulas for the Enhancement for Accelerated Students Program and early college programs. The bill passed unanimously.

HB14 (2nd sub.): School Absenteeism and Truancy Amendments establishes which absences from school are considered in determining if a minor is truant; replaces ages to which certain provisions related to truancy apply with grade levels to which the provisions apply; and limits the conditions under which a school district or charter school may impose administrative penalties on a school-age child who is truant. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously.

HB99 (2nd sub.): Enhanced Kindergarten Amendments clarifies assessment and reporting requirements for optional extended-day Kindergarten programs and seeks to expand the availability of OEK programs with an additional $18 million in funding. The UEA supports this bill because a key UEA legislative priority is to improve student equity and access to quality education for students at academic risk, which the OEK program has been very successful in doing. It passed unanimously.

House Revenue and Taxation Committee (reported by Jay Blain): HB332: Special Needs Scholarship Amendments would create the Special Needs Opportunity Scholarship Program and provide an income tax credit. The UEA strongly opposes this because it operates like a voucher, taking money from the education fund and sending it to private schools with no taxpayer accountability. Several spoke in favor of the bill citing failures of public schools to fully meet student needs. Jay Blain, representing the UEA, was one of several who spoke against the bill. He noted that private schools have the choice to exclude students based on beliefs, religion, creed or sexual orientation, whereas public schools are open to everyone. Rather than trying to provide for a few students, we should increase funding for ALL students, he said. The bill based the committee in a vote of 9-2. It now goes to the full House for consideration.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB107 (3rd sub.): Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program Amendments expands an existing program that provides a stipend to highly effective teachers who teach in a high poverty school. The original bill would qualify K-3 teachers for the stipend by using an assessment like Acadience (formerly DIBELS). It originally failed in the House Feb. 20 on a vote of 28-45. After changing the bill to exclude kindergarten teachers it passed on a vote of 54-16. The UEA opposes the bill because it uses a student test score to reward a few teachers rather than investing in instructional coaches, paraeducators, counselors or librarians to create effective instruction and student support throughout an entire school.

HB152 (1st sub.): Civic Education Testing Amendments originally would have eliminated the civics test required for high school graduation. The bill was substituted on a vote of 41-29 with language that would create a Civics and History Education Study Group to study and make recommendations for strengthening civics and history education in public schools. The substitute bill failed on a vote of 18-50.


Participants in the Early Leadership Institute were
among attendees at the Feb. 21 Educator Day on the Hill. 
Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): SB69 (3rd sub.): Tax Credit for Educator Expenses would provide a refundable individual income tax credit up to $500 that an eligible teacher may claim for certain out-of-pocket classroom expenses. After considerable discussion, primarily focused on providing adequate funding to cover classroom expenses versus a tax credit, the bill passed on a vote of 17-9 and now goes to the House for consideration.

HCR3: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Consideration of a Later Start Time for High School encourages local school boards to consider a later start time for high schools. The bill passed with one no vote and now goes to the Governor for signature.

HCR5: Concurrent Resolution Designating Utah Education Support Professionals Day and HB148: Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Awards Program express support for education support professionals in Utah schools. Both passed unanimously.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 21, 2020


C.J. Gebhardt, here meeting with Rep. Steve Eliason,
is one of nineteen 
2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission...

Change Starts with Us – Legislative post by UEA Policy Ambassador C.J. Gebhardt

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador C.J. Gebhardt, sixth-grade teacher at West Kearns Elementary School in Granite School District

“Walking into the Copper Room where we meet for Educator Day on the Hill (EDOH), I always get this feeling of importance, that something great is going to happen in the next six hours. This year was no different. I walked into EDOH with a confidence that I have never had before. I knew I wanted to change something, or influence somebody, and hopefully that happened.”

“…Starting EDOH three years ago as an Aspiring Educator has opened quite a few doors for me. I’ve become a caring human being and a quality educator. This experience, especially with this being my first year as an educator, has been transformational in my life. When educators step up, we can make a difference, and I’ve experienced that firsthand.”


Teacher bonus tied to test scores fails in the House – February 20, 2020

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): Three bills heard in the committee all passed unanimously and now go to the full House for consideration:

HB242 (1st sub.): Charter School Operations Amendments was presented by Rep. Jefferson Moss. This is a significant bill that clarifies procedures for approval, oversight and closure of charter schools. For example, Utah is the only state that does not have a probation period for new charter schools. The bill creates an “initial approval” for a three-year review period to ensure proper accounting controls and oversight are in place before granting either final approval or termination of a charter. During public comment Carol Lear, a member of the State Board of Education, spoke about the constitutional authority of the State Board for general control and supervision of all public schools, including charter schools. She stated she wished the bill included more clarification of the oversight responsibility of the State Board to ensure better cooperation and compliance by the State Charter School Board. John Dougall, state auditor, stated his concern that the bill does not address a “significant gap in governance” that exists because the State Board of Education controls funding and oversight while the State Charter School Board authorizes charters. He said that having two different boards will continue to create problems.

HB315: Local School Board Vacancies Amendments was presented by Rep. Joel Briscoe. The bill extends the length of time a local school board has to fill a midterm vacancy if the vacancy is due to the death of a local school board member. This recently occurred when a member of the Salt Lake City school board passed away and the seat had to be filled quickly because of current requirements in statute.

SB79: Regional Education Service Agencies changes existing Regional Service Centers to Regional Education Service Agencies, giving them a status similar to districts. For example, they would now be allowed to receive grants and manage programs that currently only flow to districts and charter schools.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB107 (2nd sub.): Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program Amendments expands an existing program that provides a stipend to highly effective teachers who teach in a high poverty school. Teachers qualify for the stipend based on student standardized test scores. The bill would qualify K-3 teachers by using an assessment like Acadience (formerly DIBELS). The UEA opposes the bill because it uses a student test score to reward a few teachers rather than investing in instructional coaches, paraeducators, counselors or librarians to create effective instruction and student support throughout an entire school. The bill failed on a vote of 28-45.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HJR2: Joint Resolution Recognizing School Bus Drivers supports the recognition of Utah school bus drivers for their dedication, leadership, student and parent relationships and technical skills. It passed unanimously and now goes to the Governor for signature.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 20, 2020


Sarah Jones (right) is one of nineteen
2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission...

Blockages in Utah’s Teacher Pipeline: Increasing Teacher Pay is Essential

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Sarah Jones, English and reading teacher at Centerville Junior High School in Davis School District

“As a TAP 1 (Teaching as a Profession) teacher, I can testify that it’s easy to get students excited about the prospect of becoming a teacher. Young people today are eager to make a positive difference in the lives of others, work towards equity and inclusion, and share an interesting subject area. The barrier, however, is nearly always salary.

“In eighth grade, students complete a ‘reality check’ on Utahfutures.org, where they see how much their life as an adult will cost. Then, when they compare their potential expenses to the average salary of a first year (or even tenth year) teacher, TAP students realize the numbers simply don’t add up. Their dream of becoming a teacher means significant sacrifices and many excellent students take teaching off their list of potential professions.”


Education bills heard in non-education committees – February 19, 2020

Law Enforcement Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HB171 (1st sub.): School Threat Amendments was presented by Rep. Andrew Stoddard . The bill creates a new category of misdemeanor crime of threats against preK-12 schools. Rep. Stoddard stated that the legislation would not increase the school to prison pipeline because the bill does not require a minor to be referred to the juvenile justice system. Instead, a threat against a school by a student can be handled within the school system through a restorative justice process “to help children make changes in their lives without branding them a criminal”. Rep. Kim Coleman proposed to amend the bill by removing all references to and requirements for engaging in a restorative justice process. Rep. Sandra Hollins opposed the amendment stating that it would “gut the bill”. Rep. Stoddard stated this was the “crux of the bill” and a proven practice. He wants the bill to indicate to schools that court is not the only option or the first line of defense for schools. Rep. Casey Snider stated that restorative justice has not worked in his district and people are not learning consequences. The amendment proposed by Rep. Coleman passed and the committee moved on to the next agenda item without taking a final vote on the bill.

Transportation Committee (reported by Jay Blain): HB236 (1st sub.): Safe School Route Evaluations would have the school traffic safety committees submit child access routing plans to UDOT, municipal and county highway authorities. They would also include recommendations for infrastructure in the plans. The authorities would then communicate back the time and cost associated with the recommendations. Rep. Marsha Judkins said that this coordination and communication would lessen the frustration of schools around wanting improvements to safety with no feedback. The Utah League of Cities and Towns and the Utah School Boards Association support the bill. The bill passed the committee unanimously.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Two education bills passed the Senate unanimously and now go to the House for consideration:

SB93 (1st sub.): Math and Science Opportunities for Students and Teachers requests an additional $4.8 million to expand the USTAR program and changes the name to the Math and Science Opportunities for Students and Teachers (MOST) program. The MOST program allows schools to offer expanded science and math programing for secondary students. Currently 95% of funds must go to teacher salaries and benefits. This bill expands the definition of “teacher” to “educator” to include coaches and other instructional personnel.

SB99: School Leadership Development Amendments requests $15 million for districts and charters to apply for grants to provide professional learning, training and mentoring for new principals and “aspiring” principals to improve principal leadership.


4% WPU increase recommended by Public Ed Appropriations – February 18, 2020

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Jay Blain): The subcommittee finalized funding priorities to submit to the Executive Appropriations Committee. The recommended priorities include a 4% increase on the WPU and one-time funding for $10 million of the $20 million requested by the UEA for the teacher preparation scholarships. The subcommittee chairs also recommended $100 million for “Teacher Quality & Retention” to be determined by the Utah State Board of Education.

During the meeting, several school districts presented on their uses of Teacher and Student Success Account funds:

  • In presenting information from Logan School District, Frank Schofield noted that the teacher is the most important school-level factor. Logan District’s plan directed 40% of their TSSA for teacher salary enhancement. They also promoted teacher development. Each school added three paid days to teachers’ work schedules. Schools decide how to do the professional development.
  • Tracy Miller, Mike Anderson and Brian Veazie said Jordan School District elected to not hold any money at the district level for teacher compensation. Miller said they sought feedback from School Community School Councils. Principals have felt supported, they said. Veazie says that they hired more teachers to reduce class sizes.
  • Sevier School District Board President Richard Orr, Superintendent Cade Douglas, Chad Johnson and Business Administrator Chad Lloyd presented next. Douglas finished by asking for a well-funded WPU.
  • Weilenmann School of Discovery charter school Director Cindy Phillips and Dean of Students Steve Williams presented last. Phillips asked for more flexibility on the salary portion of TSSA money.

Here are the motion sheets from the subcommittee.

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HB77: Education Funding Amendments was presented by Rep. Norman Thurston. The bill would cap the “WPU value rate,” which was created as part of the TSSA program, at 4%. The WPU value rate provides that for every 1% increase in the WPU there would be a corresponding increase in local property tax rates without having to go to truth in taxation. The concern is that legislators might hesitate to increase the WPU because of the impact on local property tax. The bill passed the committee unanimously and now goes to the full House.

Senate Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): Four items heard in the committee all passed unanimously:

SB119 (1st sub.): School Accountability Amendments was presented by Sen. Deidre Henderson. The bill provides that for the 2018-19 school year the State Board of Education is not required to publish a single letter grade for schools. Because of concerns with widespread problems that occurred during 2019 RISE student testing, in the fall UEA asked the Board to seek “statutory flexibility” from having to publish school letter grades. The Board voted to pursue that action and SB119 is a result of that vote. Sara Jones, speaking on behalf of UEA, expressed support for the bill because of the strong public perception that the results of the testing data are deeply flawed.

HCR5: Concurrent Resolution Designating Utah Education Support Professionals Day and HB148: Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Awards Program were both presented by Rep. Lee Perry. Both the bill and resolution express support for education support professionals in Utah schools. Jay Blain, UEA, spoke in favor of the bill saying that in his 20 years of teaching he couldn’t have done is job without the hard work of Education Support Professionals.

HCR3: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Consideration of a Later Start Time for High School was presented by Rep. Suzanne Harrison. The resolution encourages local school boards to consider a later start time for high schools.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 18, 2020


Annette Croucher (second row center) is one of
nineteen 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission...

Tax Reform Should Be Legislative Refocus - Students Educational Needs Should Be First

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Annette Croucher, special education teacher at Fossil Ridge Intermediate School in Washington County School District

“As a special education teacher in Washington County, I see first-hand how many of my students’ families are not able to fully support themselves. These families often require added support from our local schools and the school district to maintain their basic needs. If SB2001 (the tax reform law passed in December) had gone into effect as passed, the impact would have been detrimental to all of the students in my classroom and in my school.

…This tax reform that was passed by our Legislature did more harm than good for most Utah families. As Utahns we need to stand up for our children and the free education they are guaranteed. Without an education, our students will be unable to maintain the state that we all love and cherish in the years to come.”

House reverses direction and passes teacher bonus tied to test scores, committee approves voucher bill – February 21, 2020

Educator Day on the Hill (reported by Mike Kelley): The fourth Educator Day on the Hill session of 2020 kicked off Thursday night with more than 40 teachers from Murray, Salt Lake, Sevier and Weber Education Associations meeting to learn about the legislative process during an EDOH-plus meeting. Teachers received a brief explanation about what to expect and how the legislative process works.

It was a full house on Friday with about 75 educators and education support professionals participating from a dozen school districts, many participating for the first time. Participants were from Alpine, Canyons, Davis, Granite, Jordan, Murray, Nebo, Ogden, Park City, Salt Lake, Sevier, Tooele, Washington and Weber Education Associations as well as UEA-retired and the Utah School Employees Association. The group also included several Utah Teachers of the Year.

During the morning briefing and afternoon debrief, several dignitaries stopped by, including: Rep. Robert Spendlove, Sen. Kathleen Riebe, Rep. Joel Briscoe, State Superintendent Syd Dickson and Utah School Superintendents Association Executive Director Terry Shoemaker. Each expressed their appreciation for teachers taking their time to communicate with legislators. Rep. Spendlove, a member of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, shared information about the public education budget and his proposal to use one-time money to endow a teacher scholarship.

Senate Education Committee: Several UEA-tracked bills were heard and passed in the committee. All now go to the full Senate for consideration:

HB205: Students with Disabilities Amendments amends a formula related to add-on weighted pupil units for students with disabilities. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously.

SB124: American Indian and Alaskan Native Education Amendments replaces two pilot programs with an ongoing program administered by the State Board of Education consisting of a grant program to school districts and charter schools to be used to fund stipends, recruitment, retention, and professional development of teachers who teach in American Indian and Alaskan Native concentrated schools. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously and now goes to the full Senate.

SB126: School Board Vacancy Amendments extends the length of time a local school board has to fill a midterm vacancy on the local school board if the midterm vacancy is due to the death of a local school board member. The bill passed unanimously.

SB113: Arts Program Funding Amendments provides for an annual appropriations increase for the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Elementary Arts Learning Program in certain circumstances. The bill passed with one no vote.

SB151: Accelerated Student Program Amendments removes early college programs from the Enhancement for Accelerated Students Program; creates a funding formula for early college programs; and provides for funding distribution formulas for the Enhancement for Accelerated Students Program and early college programs. The bill passed unanimously.

HB14 (2nd sub.): School Absenteeism and Truancy Amendments establishes which absences from school are considered in determining if a minor is truant; replaces ages to which certain provisions related to truancy apply with grade levels to which the provisions apply; and limits the conditions under which a school district or charter school may impose administrative penalties on a school-age child who is truant. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously.

HB99 (2nd sub.): Enhanced Kindergarten Amendments clarifies assessment and reporting requirements for optional extended-day Kindergarten programs and seeks to expand the availability of OEK programs with an additional $18 million in funding. The UEA supports this bill because a key UEA legislative priority is to improve student equity and access to quality education for students at academic risk, which the OEK program has been very successful in doing. It passed unanimously.

House Revenue and Taxation Committee (reported by Jay Blain): HB332: Special Needs Scholarship Amendments would create the Special Needs Opportunity Scholarship Program and provide an income tax credit. The UEA strongly opposes this because it operates like a voucher, taking money from the education fund and sending it to private schools with no taxpayer accountability. Several spoke in favor of the bill citing failures of public schools to fully meet student needs. Jay Blain, representing the UEA, was one of several who spoke against the bill. He noted that private schools have the choice to exclude students based on beliefs, religion, creed or sexual orientation, whereas public schools are open to everyone. Rather than trying to provide for a few students, we should increase funding for ALL students, he said. The bill based the committee in a vote of 9-2. It now goes to the full House for consideration.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB107 (3rd sub.): Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program Amendments expands an existing program that provides a stipend to highly effective teachers who teach in a high poverty school. The original bill would qualify K-3 teachers for the stipend by using an assessment like Acadience (formerly DIBELS). It originally failed in the House Feb. 20 on a vote of 28-45. After changing the bill to exclude kindergarten teachers it passed on a vote of 54-16. The UEA opposes the bill because it uses a student test score to reward a few teachers rather than investing in instructional coaches, paraeducators, counselors or librarians to create effective instruction and student support throughout an entire school.

HB152 (1st sub.): Civic Education Testing Amendments originally would have eliminated the civics test required for high school graduation. The bill was substituted on a vote of 41-29 with language that would create a Civics and History Education Study Group to study and make recommendations for strengthening civics and history education in public schools. The substitute bill failed on a vote of 18-50.


Participants in the Early Leadership Institute were
among attendees at the Feb. 21 Educator Day on the Hill. 
Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): SB69 (3rd sub.): Tax Credit for Educator Expenses would provide a refundable individual income tax credit up to $500 that an eligible teacher may claim for certain out-of-pocket classroom expenses. After considerable discussion, primarily focused on providing adequate funding to cover classroom expenses versus a tax credit, the bill passed on a vote of 17-9 and now goes to the House for consideration.

HCR3: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Consideration of a Later Start Time for High School encourages local school boards to consider a later start time for high schools. The bill passed with one no vote and now goes to the Governor for signature.

HCR5: Concurrent Resolution Designating Utah Education Support Professionals Day and HB148: Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Awards Program express support for education support professionals in Utah schools. Both passed unanimously.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 21, 2020


C.J. Gebhardt, here meeting with Rep. Steve Eliason,
is one of nineteen 
2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission...

Change Starts with Us – Legislative post by UEA Policy Ambassador C.J. Gebhardt

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador C.J. Gebhardt, sixth-grade teacher at West Kearns Elementary School in Granite School District

“Walking into the Copper Room where we meet for Educator Day on the Hill (EDOH), I always get this feeling of importance, that something great is going to happen in the next six hours. This year was no different. I walked into EDOH with a confidence that I have never had before. I knew I wanted to change something, or influence somebody, and hopefully that happened.”

“…Starting EDOH three years ago as an Aspiring Educator has opened quite a few doors for me. I’ve become a caring human being and a quality educator. This experience, especially with this being my first year as an educator, has been transformational in my life. When educators step up, we can make a difference, and I’ve experienced that firsthand.”


Teacher bonus tied to test scores fails in the House – February 20, 2020

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): Three bills heard in the committee all passed unanimously and now go to the full House for consideration:

HB242 (1st sub.): Charter School Operations Amendments was presented by Rep. Jefferson Moss. This is a significant bill that clarifies procedures for approval, oversight and closure of charter schools. For example, Utah is the only state that does not have a probation period for new charter schools. The bill creates an “initial approval” for a three-year review period to ensure proper accounting controls and oversight are in place before granting either final approval or termination of a charter. During public comment Carol Lear, a member of the State Board of Education, spoke about the constitutional authority of the State Board for general control and supervision of all public schools, including charter schools. She stated she wished the bill included more clarification of the oversight responsibility of the State Board to ensure better cooperation and compliance by the State Charter School Board. John Dougall, state auditor, stated his concern that the bill does not address a “significant gap in governance” that exists because the State Board of Education controls funding and oversight while the State Charter School Board authorizes charters. He said that having two different boards will continue to create problems.

HB315: Local School Board Vacancies Amendments was presented by Rep. Joel Briscoe. The bill extends the length of time a local school board has to fill a midterm vacancy if the vacancy is due to the death of a local school board member. This recently occurred when a member of the Salt Lake City school board passed away and the seat had to be filled quickly because of current requirements in statute.

SB79: Regional Education Service Agencies changes existing Regional Service Centers to Regional Education Service Agencies, giving them a status similar to districts. For example, they would now be allowed to receive grants and manage programs that currently only flow to districts and charter schools.

House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB107 (2nd sub.): Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program Amendments expands an existing program that provides a stipend to highly effective teachers who teach in a high poverty school. Teachers qualify for the stipend based on student standardized test scores. The bill would qualify K-3 teachers by using an assessment like Acadience (formerly DIBELS). The UEA opposes the bill because it uses a student test score to reward a few teachers rather than investing in instructional coaches, paraeducators, counselors or librarians to create effective instruction and student support throughout an entire school. The bill failed on a vote of 28-45.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HJR2: Joint Resolution Recognizing School Bus Drivers supports the recognition of Utah school bus drivers for their dedication, leadership, student and parent relationships and technical skills. It passed unanimously and now goes to the Governor for signature.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 20, 2020


Sarah Jones (right) is one of nineteen
2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission...

Blockages in Utah’s Teacher Pipeline: Increasing Teacher Pay is Essential

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Sarah Jones, English and reading teacher at Centerville Junior High School in Davis School District

“As a TAP 1 (Teaching as a Profession) teacher, I can testify that it’s easy to get students excited about the prospect of becoming a teacher. Young people today are eager to make a positive difference in the lives of others, work towards equity and inclusion, and share an interesting subject area. The barrier, however, is nearly always salary.

“In eighth grade, students complete a ‘reality check’ on Utahfutures.org, where they see how much their life as an adult will cost. Then, when they compare their potential expenses to the average salary of a first year (or even tenth year) teacher, TAP students realize the numbers simply don’t add up. Their dream of becoming a teacher means significant sacrifices and many excellent students take teaching off their list of potential professions.”


Education bills heard in non-education committees – February 19, 2020

Law Enforcement Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HB171 (1st sub.): School Threat Amendments was presented by Rep. Andrew Stoddard . The bill creates a new category of misdemeanor crime of threats against preK-12 schools. Rep. Stoddard stated that the legislation would not increase the school to prison pipeline because the bill does not require a minor to be referred to the juvenile justice system. Instead, a threat against a school by a student can be handled within the school system through a restorative justice process “to help children make changes in their lives without branding them a criminal”. Rep. Kim Coleman proposed to amend the bill by removing all references to and requirements for engaging in a restorative justice process. Rep. Sandra Hollins opposed the amendment stating that it would “gut the bill”. Rep. Stoddard stated this was the “crux of the bill” and a proven practice. He wants the bill to indicate to schools that court is not the only option or the first line of defense for schools. Rep. Casey Snider stated that restorative justice has not worked in his district and people are not learning consequences. The amendment proposed by Rep. Coleman passed and the committee moved on to the next agenda item without taking a final vote on the bill.

Transportation Committee (reported by Jay Blain): HB236 (1st sub.): Safe School Route Evaluations would have the school traffic safety committees submit child access routing plans to UDOT, municipal and county highway authorities. They would also include recommendations for infrastructure in the plans. The authorities would then communicate back the time and cost associated with the recommendations. Rep. Marsha Judkins said that this coordination and communication would lessen the frustration of schools around wanting improvements to safety with no feedback. The Utah League of Cities and Towns and the Utah School Boards Association support the bill. The bill passed the committee unanimously.

Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): Two education bills passed the Senate unanimously and now go to the House for consideration:

SB93 (1st sub.): Math and Science Opportunities for Students and Teachers requests an additional $4.8 million to expand the USTAR program and changes the name to the Math and Science Opportunities for Students and Teachers (MOST) program. The MOST program allows schools to offer expanded science and math programing for secondary students. Currently 95% of funds must go to teacher salaries and benefits. This bill expands the definition of “teacher” to “educator” to include coaches and other instructional personnel.

SB99: School Leadership Development Amendments requests $15 million for districts and charters to apply for grants to provide professional learning, training and mentoring for new principals and “aspiring” principals to improve principal leadership.


4% WPU increase recommended by Public Ed Appropriations – February 18, 2020

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Jay Blain): The subcommittee finalized funding priorities to submit to the Executive Appropriations Committee. The recommended priorities include a 4% increase on the WPU and one-time funding for $10 million of the $20 million requested by the UEA for the teacher preparation scholarships. The subcommittee chairs also recommended $100 million for “Teacher Quality & Retention” to be determined by the Utah State Board of Education.

During the meeting, several school districts presented on their uses of Teacher and Student Success Account funds:

  • In presenting information from Logan School District, Frank Schofield noted that the teacher is the most important school-level factor. Logan District’s plan directed 40% of their TSSA for teacher salary enhancement. They also promoted teacher development. Each school added three paid days to teachers’ work schedules. Schools decide how to do the professional development.
  • Tracy Miller, Mike Anderson and Brian Veazie said Jordan School District elected to not hold any money at the district level for teacher compensation. Miller said they sought feedback from School Community School Councils. Principals have felt supported, they said. Veazie says that they hired more teachers to reduce class sizes.
  • Sevier School District Board President Richard Orr, Superintendent Cade Douglas, Chad Johnson and Business Administrator Chad Lloyd presented next. Douglas finished by asking for a well-funded WPU.
  • Weilenmann School of Discovery charter school Director Cindy Phillips and Dean of Students Steve Williams presented last. Phillips asked for more flexibility on the salary portion of TSSA money.

Here are the motion sheets from the subcommittee.

House Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): HB77: Education Funding Amendments was presented by Rep. Norman Thurston. The bill would cap the “WPU value rate,” which was created as part of the TSSA program, at 4%. The WPU value rate provides that for every 1% increase in the WPU there would be a corresponding increase in local property tax rates without having to go to truth in taxation. The concern is that legislators might hesitate to increase the WPU because of the impact on local property tax. The bill passed the committee unanimously and now goes to the full House.

Senate Education Committee (reported by Sara Jones): Four items heard in the committee all passed unanimously:

SB119 (1st sub.): School Accountability Amendments was presented by Sen. Deidre Henderson. The bill provides that for the 2018-19 school year the State Board of Education is not required to publish a single letter grade for schools. Because of concerns with widespread problems that occurred during 2019 RISE student testing, in the fall UEA asked the Board to seek “statutory flexibility” from having to publish school letter grades. The Board voted to pursue that action and SB119 is a result of that vote. Sara Jones, speaking on behalf of UEA, expressed support for the bill because of the strong public perception that the results of the testing data are deeply flawed.

HCR5: Concurrent Resolution Designating Utah Education Support Professionals Day and HB148: Utah Recognizing Inspiring School Employees Awards Program were both presented by Rep. Lee Perry. Both the bill and resolution express support for education support professionals in Utah schools. Jay Blain, UEA, spoke in favor of the bill saying that in his 20 years of teaching he couldn’t have done is job without the hard work of Education Support Professionals.

HCR3: Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Consideration of a Later Start Time for High School was presented by Rep. Suzanne Harrison. The resolution encourages local school boards to consider a later start time for high schools.


UEA Policy Ambassador Message – February 18, 2020


Annette Croucher (second row center) is one of
nineteen 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
Nineteen teachers volunteered to become 2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and have agreed to participate in UEA Educator Day on the Hill, engage with their legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission...

Tax Reform Should Be Legislative Refocus - Students Educational Needs Should Be First

Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Annette Croucher, special education teacher at Fossil Ridge Intermediate School in Washington County School District

“As a special education teacher in Washington County, I see first-hand how many of my students’ families are not able to fully support themselves. These families often require added support from our local schools and the school district to maintain their basic needs. If SB2001 (the tax reform law passed in December) had gone into effect as passed, the impact would have been detrimental to all of the students in my classroom and in my school.

…This tax reform that was passed by our Legislature did more harm than good for most Utah families. As Utahns we need to stand up for our children and the free education they are guaranteed. Without an education, our students will be unable to maintain the state that we all love and cherish in the years to come.”