UEA Presents Budget Priorities to Appropriation Committee

Utah Education Association President Renèe Pinkney and Policy and Research Director Jay Blain presented the association’s budget priorities during the Public Education Appropriation Subcommittee Monday.

UEA’s top funding priority is to provide at least a 6.5% increase on the WPU for a total WPU increase of at least 10% including inflation and student enrollment growth.

“This robust increase is to support all of the work going on in the schools. All of the personnel shortages that are impacting students in our schools,” Blain told the committee.

Finding priorities also include continued increases in paid professional hours for licensed educators, enhanced funding for students at-risk of academic failure by increasing weights on the At-Risk Student line item, and expanding optional full-day kindergarten.

UEA would also like to ensure each classroom has an effective teacher by funding strategies to identify and address the root causes of Utah’s critical educator shortage.

“Our educators are telling us every day… that it is very difficult to recruit and retain these people because of the great economy in the State of Utah. They can find work at other places that pay more that give good benefits and it is difficult to get them in classrooms,” said Blain.