This morning I attended the Joint Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee. The Executive Appropriations Committee directed each subcommittee to cut their budget by 7% as a base. Supposedly they will add items back in later. They claimed it is not the intention of leadership to cut education.
Several legislators asked for what education leaders want cut. They say they don't want to randomly cut. A couple members of the committee stated that this effort if futile, because the revenue numbers are not in. Why make a budget without knowing the hard numbers?
Some options include reducing the value of the WPU approximately $292. Another option would be to eliminate all below-the-line items (items paid for on a year-by-year basis with one-time money) including many programs, transportation, and the educator salary adjustment of $4200. Yet another option is to cut the "flexible allocation" which is distributed like the WPU. This is money that is given to districts to spend as they see fit. One option presented was to move everything to above the line, cut the 7%, and let the districts decide how to spend what was left. An additional option is to pay for student growth above-the-line (WPU on-going funds) and cut the 7% from below-the-line.
As you can see, there is a lot of discussion to be had yet on the budget. I would say not to worry too much about these early budget numbers you will see in the news. The Chairs, Senator Chris Buttars and Representative Merlynn Newbold, will make recommendations for the 7% cut to be presented at the committee meeting on Monday, January 31.
This morning, the House passed HB 218 - Clubs in Public Schools which adds language that the playing fields of high schools are part of the school and should be available to school clubs for their use when not being used by UHSAA sanctioned sports. It now goes to the Senate.
Yesterday, two resolutions passed favorably out of committee. SJR 1 and SJR 9 would both change the control of public education from the State Board of Education to either the legislature or the governor. See this article for more information.
Today was Charter School Day on the Hill. JEA Member, Jeff Bossard, was there with Principal Steve Jolley and students from Itineris Early College High School, a charter school run by Jordan School District.