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Funding committee prioritizes ‘Educator-Directed Flexible Time’ – February 8

Good news…the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee prioritized the UEA’s request for Educator-Directed Flexible Time. The funding amount was less than originally requested, but the $30 million, if passed, would allow each licensed educator an estimated 16-20 hours of paid, flexible time for any professional purpose they choose.

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Jay Blain): Today’s meeting was all about finalizing the priorities that the Subcommittee will be recommending to the Executive Appropriations Committee. The Subcommittee approved a priority funding list. Some highlights are a 5% overall increase on the WPU and a request to add additional funding it is available when updated funding reports are issued later this month. Another good outcome was the prioritization of Educator Directed Flexible Time at number 9 out of 17 on the one-time funding list with an amount of $30 million. This is a proposal from the UEA. While it is less than our original request of $57.3 million, it is still larger than any other prioritized item on the list.

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

 

Policy Ambassador Messages

In 2022, 15 educators were selected as UEA Policy Ambassadors. These teachers received training from the UEA Legislative Team and agree to engage with legislators and share their experiences with UEA members. Here is an excerpt from a new submission:

Politics is Who Gets What

Submitted by UEA Advanced Policy Ambassador Sarah Jones, instructional coach at Legacy Jr. High School in the Davis School District

“I was in a class at the University of Utah when Dr. Lawrence Parker said, “Politics is who gets what.” His statement was a response to those who feel the political process is inaccessible, unimportant, or too messy. I realized that while I haven’t always been politically engaged, I’ve always cared about ‘who gets what’ and I do want a say in how our public resources are spent.

“As teachers, we see student needs first-hand. We often understand best which students need additional instruction, which students need assistance with housing and food, and which students need support from the school counselor. We know when our schools are understaffed, our class sizes too large and when buildings aren’t well maintained. If we, as teachers, aren’t engaged at all in the political process – literally decisions about who gets what – then those needs may be misunderstood and unaddressed…”

 

Upcoming Legislation to Watch

Just one UEA-tracked bill is on the agenda for the Senate Education Committee at 2 p.m., Feb. 9:

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