Educator Day on the Hill (reported by Mike Kelley): A beautiful sunny day combined with several school districts on recess meant a large turnout for UEA Educator Day on the Hill. Large contingents from Salt Lake Education Association and Granite Education Association made up about half of the group. Also represented were Box Elder, Davis, Jordan, Nebo, Ogden, Provo, Tintic, Uintah and Weber School Districts, as well as UEA Retired and the Utah School Employees Association. Nearly a quarter of the participants were attending for the first time.
Several legislators stopped by to visit with participants. Rep. Elizabeth Weight shared information about her bill (HB152) to eliminate the high school civics test. Sen. Kathleen Riebe provided some information about the education budget and other hot education issues.
During the lunch debrief meeting, Rep. Craig Hall talked about his request to the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee yesterday for a $1,000 teacher retention bonus using one-time money available this year. Rep. Marsha Judkins discussed her bill (HB205) to raise the caps on special education funding to accommodate the increasing number of SpEd students. Rep. Joel Briscoe, Rep. Patrice Arent also thanked teachers for their service and for taking the time to be on the Hill.
House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB205: Students with Disabilities Amendments amends the formula for funding special education students. Currently, two-year lagged data is used to estimate the number of special education students in a district. The bill reduces that to one-year lagged data in order to be more accurate in and responsive to the growth of special education students. The UEA supports this bill. It passed unanimously and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
HB222 (1st sub.): Start Smart Utah Breakfast Program creates the Start Smart Utah Program to expand access to school breakfast in public schools and requires a public school to use an alternative breakfast service model if a certain percentage of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. It passed the House on a vote of 51-20 and now goes to the Senate.