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Comments about ‘Education gets top priority in Gov. Gary Herbert's $12.8 billion budget plan’

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Proposal anticipates surplus of more than $400 million

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12 2012 5:40 p.m. MST

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jotab
Salt Lake City, UT

The 26 million dollars will only cover the increased costs in retirement and social security. There won't be any money for raises. Congratulations on recognizing the needs in the higher ed. budget after 3 or 4 lean years but this budget basically is only staying even in K-12. After 3 years of education employees losing ground on take home pay, you would think that a budget that touts education as its top priority would do more for the rank and file educator.

FatherOfFour
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

Of this $12.8 billion, how much of that is coming from the federal government? I find it rather disingenuous to complain about the federal government spending money, then ask them to spend money on Utah.

Bill Shakespeare
Salt Lake City, UT

12.8 billion? Do they think money grows on trees!?!?

worf
Mcallen, TX

We should freeze spending for ten years, and live within our means.

Let's quit whining for pay raises, and save our country. Be glad for having a job.

bricha
lehi, ut

I see it as a great thing that Utah is putting half of it increase in revenue towards education. We have a long way to go, and heaven knows teachers deserve better, but I see this as a step in the right direction.

bricha
lehi, ut

Worf while we do need to live within our means, being crazy about it wont solve anything. Utah has a growing economy things are going pretty well here (not perfect of course). If the governor was proposing spending an additional 500 million when we are only expecting to raise 400 I would have a problem with that, but as a whole Utah is being wise with the money they are getting.

Y Ask Y
Provo, UT

The most important thing the Gov. can do is to make sure these funds do NOT go to additional Administrators in the schools!

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

There's living within one's means and then there's refusing to pay for services rendered.

Utah is moving in the right direction as opposed to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who cut 1.6 billion from education, "balancing" the budget on kids and teachers. The good ones will leave, as our oldest son did. He and his wife moved to Minnesota where he received a $6K raise.

Teachers don't expect to be rich, but they do expect to be fairly compensated for their level of education and work. My husband has a master's degree, has taught 30 years and makes only $50K. He averages 12 hour days, not including lesson plans and grading papers at home. Our son-in-law is a new BSRN and makes almost as much as my husband. He worked only 18 hours of clinical training and passed a single test to qualify for his RN. His wife, our daughter, had to go to school for 5 years, including 180 hours of unpaid student teaching that cost her $7,000. She will have to renew her license every 5 years and her starting pay will be half of her husband's, yet some will begrudge her even that.

first2third
Elmo, UT

@ Midwest Mom I am also a teacher. I love my job and don't complain. Teaching is rewarding in different ways besides financial means. I knew what I was getting in to. You can choose where to work in this country. If you think your being under compensated, you can change professions. That being said, I appreciate everything my state and especially my district do to compensate the teachers the best they can. Never once have I had district personnel say, "We need to find a way to compensate teachers less."

David
Centerville, UT

Search online for Doug MacDonald's White Paper on education funding in Utah. You will read there that the Utah legislature changed traditional, earmarked, source funding for education spending by hundreds of millions of dollars over the past decade. Since 1996 education has lost nearly $1 billion it should have received.

Instead, the legislature has changed tax levels directly affecting education source funding. The legislature has also diverted education dollars to roads and transportation.

If those dollars had stayed in education, I would expect that we would not be falling behind in testing, math & science, student:teacher ratios, and quality educators.

For Herbert to increase education spending in his budget proposal does nothing more than approach the level that education should have been receiving annually anyway. This doesn't really "increase" anything.

A true increase is required to try and catch up for starving the education of our kids for more than a decade.

My daughter has 34 kids in her 3rd grade class. How can a teacher possibly provide the attention needed to individual students at appropriate times with 34 kids in the class? An ideal ratio, honestly, would be 20 kids per classroom.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

So first2third feels that people who go into education should just be grateful for the crumbs that fall? Problem is, most teachers are women and second income earners for their families. More men would teach if the pay were more attractive. We raised six kids on my husband's income alone. I think we know a thing, or two, about being frugal. We live in the 2nd poorest county in our state and give a lot of volunteer service to youth. Our family is dedicated to education. That doesn't mean that we can't be involved and outspoken about the issues. If those who care about education don't add their voice, then only the politicians, privatizers and the profit seekers -- those who are not vested in the classroom -- will be making policy.

The love-it-or-leave-it attitude does not solve problems, nor does it address the needs of the children who will be left behind, when all the good teachers are gone.

bcandersen
Pleasant Grove, UT

There is an understanding argument for class size and individual attention. I know that part of this has to do with the less-than-appealing salary of a teacher.

However, in Jordan School District, teachers are required to work 181 calendar days. This is less than HALF of the calendar year. With this, they still have sick leave, vacation time/PTO. All weekends and holidays,months during summer, and some additional days for their hard work.

We all have 12 hour work days, and a larger workload than we feel appropriate. Please do not tell me that teachers should make as much money as an individual who works at least 30% more of the year, using their sick leave, vacation time/PTO so they can use it FOR Holidays. Not in addition to it.

I am glad Herbert is making a move to put some money into the system. I don't mind raises for teachers-I just find the argument to be paid the same invalid.

Fern RL
LAYTON, UT

I would rather pay dedicated teachers more, and noisy politicians less.

VST
Bountiful, UT

@David & Mid West Mom,

If a State does NOT have the money to do what YOU would like them to do for education, where are you going to get it? If you choose to respond to this question, don't give us generalities in your response – give us specifics. What other areas of Utah's budget would you cut and by how much (and forget about the nickel and dime stuff)?

Regarding educational expenses, here are some things need to remember about Utah's financial situation:

- Per our Constitution, the State HAS to balance the budget – it cannot borrow money it does not have.

- Utah spends more of its money (incoming revenue) on public education than most other states (ranks either 2nd or 3rd). That tells me the priority is very high versus the other State budget stuff.

- Utah has the largest birthrate in the nation. That is why we spend less per pupil that any other state.

And please remember David, for safety reasons, you still have to "fix the roads."

squirt
Taylorsville, ut

Thank you Jotab for understanding this funding issue clearly. K-12 teachers once again, get nothing in terms of a COLA or professional development etc. The Governor's education excellence task force recommended 2%. Clearly K-12 teachers are NOT a priority to the Governor.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

What is new about having education a priority? Nothing. Every Governor states the same thing but is tongue and cheek, especially with a Governor that got his $85,000 and arranged a $13M bonus for a contractor that didn't get the bid on ICORE. Then the development of Front Runner and the many federal dollars attached to both those projects keeps us in bondage to the federal patronage.

Teachers have not only got an education and kept up with their area of expertise with classes, they are dedicated to teaching our children and grandchildren with their caring and enduring tasks that have increased over the years. Do more with less. Teachers with bachelors and masters' degrees and administrators with masters' and PhDs have given much for our children and helped parents understand how they can help and improve their children's educational opportunities.

We should not hesitate to make our country's and state's future leaders, educators, parents, and citizens on par or higher with the standards that are applied to their progress. There are always challenges each year that administrators, teachers and parents work out to give the highest public education possible in Utah.

Administrators-teachers are 99% exceptional.

WilliamLee
Ogden, UT

To those who have their gripes about education/educators. No, teachers don't make a lot (we should make more, but that's another issue), I'm just becoming a teacher later in my life. My wife is on fixed income and disabled, plus we care for our disabled grandson, with them getting SSI and Soc. Sec. Disability. This is what we have lived on for the past 5 years, so we are very frugal. As I said, I'm becoming a teacher and will graduate next year (2013) with a master's degree in education/special ed. I will be making more money than I've ever made in my life. That sounds funny coming from someone who will be 60 in 2014. My family moved back to Utah because of the educational needs for our grandson. I applaud Gov. Herbert for what he is doing. I will be thankful for having a decent income and working with special education students in the upper grades. I worked as an administrative assistant for over 20 years as a temporary employee and raised a family on it. I'm not going to complain.

worf
Mcallen, TX

I'm a retired teacher of over thirty years. Every year I've heard whining of not enough pay for what we do. I wasn't one of them.0

Sorry follow teachers, but I don't know of any job without responsibilities, low pay, and stress.

I'm happy to have had the benefits, and retirement. There are many people my age without insurance or retirement. I know some who'll work fifteen years longer for a retirement half of mine.

In my early teaching years, I saved and took out loans, then bought three houses to rent out. Today, it's all paid off, and it supplements my retirement.

We teach students to be creative. Creative students succeeded over the whiners. Do the best you can.

no fit in SG
St.George, Utah

Yes, when asked their opinion, many working as teachers will definitely advise young people to go into the nursing profession. Pays better, more diversity in the job, shorter education, and better hours. One can raise a young family on one salary as an RN.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

VST:

1) Raise taxes, not too popular with some people

2) LOTTERY--not too popular but might work

3) Just plain earmark more money for education in the budget. The percentage of money for public education, not higher education, has decreased dramatically over the last 10-15 years.

4) At the local level, raise property taxes--again not that popular of an idea. Also, some localities sold their soul to the devil letting businesses come in to their community tax free for 10, 15 and 20 years. This practice needs to stop.

We are fast heading toward desperate times in education. Midwest Mom is correct, quality male teachers especially are leaving the profession. Class sizes are horrible, needed paraprofessionals are being cut or having their hours reduced. Teachers, but most importantly, our children, deserve better. Did we not see the latest report on our graduation rates? Adjusted for income and demographics, our once-proud schools are falling behind. Money can make a difference and will make a difference when things are falling apart. Stay this course and that's what will happen to our schools. But of course this could be the master plan of Utah's majority party.

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