At the top of the Utah State Board of Education’s 2015 budget priority list is a $122.5 million expectation that the Legislature will fully fund the expected growth in Utah public schools and increase the weighted-pupil unit by 1.5 percent to match the inflation rate.
Beyond that, the Board seeks $960,000 in new ongoing funding to hold itself and the Utah State Office of Education more fiscally accountable and shore up data security in the state’s public school system.
“Our recent risk assessment has made us aware of significant areas within USOE where additional resources are needed in order to continue the provision of basic school services and data security,” said Board Vice Chair David L. Thomas. “This is the State Board’s top priority. Without added resources, we will not be able to comply with the mandates imposed on the public school system by both federal and state law.”
In the classroom, the Board prioritized $50 million in one-time monies plus an additional $25 million in on-going funding for a technology initiative to improve student access and use of technology. An additional $2 million is being sought to keep the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Program operating for another year.
For teachers, the Board is seeking $30 million in targeted professional learning and $5 million in one-time funds for professional learning aimed to help math teachers with interventions for students who need additional help.
“We recognize that our teachers need additional time and resources to better assess student progress and plan effective lessons,” said Board Chair David L. Crandall. “This additional funding will allow educators access to new research and emerging tools that help Utah students.”
The public education budget process started in early summer 2014. Through this process, the Utah State Board of Education approves funding priorities for the Utah State Office of Education, Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, and the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation. Priorities this year are divided among three categories: expected ongoing funding, requested ongoing funding, and requested one-time funding.
Other Utah public school on-going funding priorities and their estimated costs include:
- A 1 percent weighted-pupil unit funding increase over and above inflation: $25 million
- Increasing the number of counselors for a graduation initiative: $15 million
- K-12 digital literacy: $10 million
- At-risk student funding: $6 million
- Funding for growth in the state’s dual immersion program: $300,000
Other Utah public school one-time funding priorities and their estimated costs include:
- Capital equalization program among local education agencies: $10 million
- Alternative fuel buses and associated infrastructure: $20 million
- Principal professional development: $5 million
The total estimated costs of the Board’s requests for public education is $320,460,000.
Emilie Wheeler, communication specialist
Utah State Board of Education
801-707-8421 | Emilie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Peterson, public relations director
Utah State Office of Education
801-538-7635 | email@example.com