After fulfilling statutory education funding requirements (fully fund student enrollment growth and the WPU inflation adjustment in the base budget; and fully fund the education working rainy day fund to support long-term education economic stabilization), the Utah Education Association urges the 2024 Utah legislature to address the following funding priorities:
- Provide at least an 8% increase on the WPU above the inflation adjustment and enrollment growth (est. $344 million). Prioritizing the WPU allows maximum local flexibility to address ever-increasing demands, such as attracting and retaining quality educators and support staff.
- Fund and increase Paid Professional Hours (2022 HB396) for all licensed educators to enhance collaboration and preparation time ($100 million one-time).
- Create a program for education preparation program students to provide financial support during their student teaching experience ($12 million one-time).
- Fund a program to assist educators in paying for advanced degrees to enhance professional skills and support educator retention ($3 million one-time).
- Support a Healthy School Meals initiative that allows more families to qualify for access to no-cost school meals ($3 million ongoing).
- Ensure no additional funding for any voucher program since they lack full taxpayer accountability, demonstrated student effectiveness and comparable oversight to public schools.
- Establish a tax system that delivers sustainable and growing long-term revenue and continues the momentum in K-12 public education funding progress.
- Funding for safe schools, including earthquake safety, physical health and safety, and student and educator mental health.
- Use the Flexible Allocation line item for more significant funding flexibility.