From our friends at the NAACP:
“We are extremely disappointed that HB215 passed,” said Jeanetta Williams, NAACP President for the states of Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. The NAACP is asking Governor Cox to VETO HB215, Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education Opportunities. This Bill should have been separated to allow debate on teacher pay raises and vouchers.
In 2007, NAACP National legal department agreed to have local President, Jeanetta Williams sign off with two other groups in a legal document to have vouchers put on a ballot. Through the Referendum, adequate signatures were obtained. The Utah voters voted over 62% against vouchers. Taking taxpayer money to fund private schools. Now in Utah, Legislators are using their overall republican party push to combine teacher pay raises with a voucher bill. This bill will give parents $8,000 per student each year for a voucher. There is nothing for transparency or accountability. State Auditor, John Dougall, was not involved in drafting HB215. The Legislators are trying to say that this bill will help minorities and low-income families. This is not true at all. It only benefits families who are looking at this bill to subsidize their incomes using tax funds to send their children to private schools.
Teachers should receive raises much larger than this Bill requires. Of the mere $6,000 proposed raise to teachers, approximately $1,400 would go toward benefits. On average, Utah teachers’ pay is much lower than the surrounding states of Wyoming and Nevada. If teachers are to be compensated, HB215 should have been separated and educator raise should have been at least a minimum of $25,000 each.
With HB215 passing in the House and Senate, and we are not able to put forth a Referendum, our only option is to ask Governor Cox to veto the bill. We are urging everyone to call Gov. Cox at (801) 538-1000 immediately, asking him to VETO HB215. As President of the NAACP for the state of Utah, I have reached out to our National Legal Department for assistance.