After a hectic end to Week 2, Week 3 of the 2022 Legislative Session began in relative quiet on the public education front. The Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee heard more presentations as it prepared its budget recommendations for consideration by the Executive Appropriations Committee. Just one bill on the UEA Tracking Sheet moved forward with a House vote. The UEA Legislative Team continues to work behind the scenes, preparing for the release of new bills.
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee (reported by Mike Kelley): The subcommittee continued to hear presentations:
- The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) presented line items for budget review and proposed changes, a line item reorganization chart and line items-related funding requests
- USBE also provided a presentation on school fees, including a school fees data collection report
House Natural Resources Committee (reported by Chase Clyde): HB21: School and Child Care Center Water Testing Requirements passed the House Natural Resources Committee. The bill requires testing water for lead in schools and requires action if lead test results equal or exceed certain levels. The UEA has supported this legislation for several years. The bill has struggled in the past due to lack of funding. This year the bill is funded in the base budget through ARPA Funds.
House Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): HB90 (2nd sub.): Transparency in Lobbying and Disclosures Amendments requires public officeholders to disclose the receipt of a gift provided or paid for by a foreign agent or foreign government and to make disclosures related to foreign travel undertaken in the officeholder’s official position. It also makes provisions of the Lobbyist Disclosure and Regulation Act applicable to person who lobbies a local official or an education official. It passed unanimously.
Your UEA Legislative Team is on the Hill every day, working behind the scenes to represent educators. Here are some insights:
Reported by Legislative Team Member Chase Clyde: UEA President Heidi Matthews, Sara Jones and I met with Speaker Brad Wilson to discuss UEA’s proposal to fund educator-directed flexible preparation and collaboration time for all licensed educators. The UEA is requesting $57.5 million and has submitted an official Request for Appropriation to the Public Education Appropriations Committee. The appropriation request is being sponsored by Rep. Dan Johnson.
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:
Submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Rebecca Becker, behavior specialist and analyst in Ogden School District
…Over the past 7 years in this role, I’ve experienced students entering Kindergarten less and less capable of navigating the academic environment. There is an increasing deficit in behavior skills as well as average cognitive capacity that is resulting in behaviors that I only ever experienced 10 years ago in the most severe behavior settings. It’s overwhelming to think of how teachers can possibly continue to address these increasing deficits year after year. My goal in becoming a UEA Policy Ambassador is to communicate with UEA leadership regarding these deficits and advocate for teachers. In my short time as a Policy Ambassador I’ve learned UEA leadership is fully aware and fiercely advocating for the additional resources needed to address these deficits…
Upcoming Legislation to Watch
Four UEA-tracked bills are on the agenda for the Senate Education Committee at 3:40 p.m., Feb. 1:
- SB127: Early Literacy Outcomes Improvement amends and establishes programs to emphasize literacy in kindergarten through grade 3.
- SB134: Special Education Amendments amends provisions related to the delivery of special education services in public schools.
- SB145 Reading Competency Benchmark Assessment amends the grade levels to which a requirement applies for a statewide reading competency benchmark assessment.
- SJR6: Joint Resolution Promoting the 3rs Framework of Rights, Responsibility, and Respect in Classrooms highlights the 3Rs framework, which is inspired by principles of the religion clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, acknowledges the role of public school educators in preparing students for their civic responsibilities and encourages the State Board of Education to support the state’s public school educators in accessing instructional materials that support the 3Rs framework of rights, responsibility and respect.