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Senate gives preliminary approval to bill extending school day for children in poverty

Published: Tuesday, July 7 2015 7:44 a.m. MDT

A bill that would allow for extended-day learning and other initiatives for children affected by intergenerational poverty passed an initial vote by the Senate on Monday. (Shutterstock) A bill that would allow for extended-day learning and other initiatives for children affected by intergenerational poverty passed an initial vote by the Senate on Monday. (Shutterstock)

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to provide educational opportunities to children affected by intergenerational poverty gained initial approval from the Utah Senate on Monday.

SB43, sponsored by Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, would allocate $5 million from the state's education fund to provide grants for programs outside of the regular school day.

"Many of the children that are caught up in this intergenerational poverty and welfare dependency cycle are not able to compete and stay up with their classes," Reid said. "The teachers are having to act like social workers to a large extent, helping these students keep up."

Grants related to the bill would be focused on kindergarten through sixth grade, he said. It would be up to the school applying for a grant to determine the specifics of its strategy to target children in poverty.

"This approach allows educators to try different initiatives," Reid said.

The bill passed on second reading by a 20-3 vote. It will be read and voted on for a third time in the Senate before moving to the House.

— Benjamin Wood

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