Tell Your Legislators to Vote Against Private School Vouchers in Utah
The legislature is fast-tracking a private school voucher bill. On Thursday, the House Education Committee passed HB 215. Less than 24 hours later the full House passed the bill. Now HB 215 is headed to the Senate Education Committee on Monday afternoon. If it passes the committee, it could be voted on by the full Senate as soon as Tuesday morning.
Senators need to hear from you today!
About HB 215
Creates a private school voucher system using $42 million from the income tax fund dedicated to public schools. The $8,0000 voucher for private schools will be nearly double the current weighted pupil unit (WPU) public schools receive. Anyone could qualify for the voucher, including high-income families. A proposed $4,200 educator salary increase will be implemented only if the voucher program goes into effect.
Private schools receiving the public money would not need to be accredited or have licensed teachers and there would be no state oversight on curriculum, instructional materials, course standards or assessments. Small private schools wouldn’t even be required to submit to a fingerprint-based criminal background check.
- Public tax dollars should fund public schools, not private schools.
- Taking money from public schools to give to private schools, when Utah is second to last in the nation in education funding, will seriously undermine public education and student success.
- If legislators really value the important work educators do every day, a salary increase should not come with strings attached just to pass a private school voucher bill.
- Vouchers subsidize private schools for affluent families along the Wasatch Front, at the expense of rural families with no access to private schools.
- Parents receiving the voucher must waive their federal IDEA (special education law) rights because private schools are not required to provide special education services. This is a disservice to students and families.
- Lawmakers should focus on providing actual solutions to the most urgent needs in our schools, like large class sizes, increased student behavior issues and severe staffing shortages. A voucher bill does nothing to support educators and public schools.
Email AND text your senator this weekend! Tell them why private school vouchers are bad for Utah. Find your senator and contact information here.
Tips on engaging with your elected official:
- Always indicate you are a constituent in the subject line of the email.
- Include your home address in the body of the email.
- If you are reaching out to the Senator that represents your SCHOOL, not your home, indicate you are an educator at a specific school and what you teach.
- Personalize the message. Share your story as an educator.
- NEVER use personal attacks. Keep the message positive, while still holding your elected official accountable. Always thank the elected official for their service and prompt response.