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Utah

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

Proposal anticipates surplus of more than $400 million

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  • ManInTheMiddle SANDY, UT
    Dec. 17, 2012 6:01 p.m.

    Please double my property taxes and use the funds to pay teachers more and reduce class size - we simply can't get good enough resumes with the wages we are paying. Start paying teachers 25% more and watch how resumes improve overnight.

    Also, fire the worst teachers (perhaps the bottom 20%) and replace them with twice as many competent teachers.
    Then, fire 20% of all administrators and don't rehire them.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Dec. 16, 2012 11:33 a.m.

    I didn't say my ideas were popular but someone said give suggestions so I did. I guess I believe that education should be a priority. I would like to see it be a real priority at a a national level. The type of money I would like to see would need to double to really transform education.

    I like the Finland model where they try to put two qualified teachers in the classroom. This would make the biggest difference in the education of our children right there. They also emphasize teaching as a truly noble profession but not just with sayings or meaningless platitudes but with money where teachers are very highly paid and compensated. This draws the best and brightest to the field where they can make a career out of teaching. Right now, teaching has become so low paying and high stress that many of our best and brightest young people try it but can't stay in the profession. We have a dearth of male teachers, even secondary is getting less. We need more male teachers at all levels of education and our current course will not allow it.

  • Bill Shakespeare Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 14, 2012 5:57 a.m.

    This Governor Herbit is one remarkable man.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 13, 2012 8:28 p.m.

    If children received the proper education then a lot of the other services that the state provides now would not be needed. Parents would be more involved as that is what proper education means, parental input and being responsible for their children's education and not just putting it on the school.

    Children would be more responsible, also, as the parents and other siblings would be involved in each other's learning process and sharing their love of reading, math, and science/math classes.

    Sports activities are good for development but sports has become a desire for so many as it is considered easy money. However, very few, percentage wise get that opportunity.

    Teachers are the basic need in our society and excellent teachers are a prize commodity, anywhere.

  • danaslc Kearns, UT
    Dec. 13, 2012 7:08 p.m.

    Less than last year does not mean top priority. Lets face it we are out of money and not enough taxpayers to pay for schooling for our children. Stop some of the entitlements going to those who don't pay taxes and came here illegally. Put some of that back into the education system. This state and its laws are bleeding the middle class dry and stealing education away from our kids.

  • squirt Taylorsville, ut
    Dec. 13, 2012 6:39 p.m.

    Dr.Groovey, your comment about UEA has absolutely nothing to do with this article. And I must point out that you do not understand the situation. Yes, public employees deserve as much as teachers. Here is what you do not understand. 1% on the WPU will translate to a 1% raise for higher education employees NOT K-12 teachers or employees. Here is why, two years ago the legislature pulled the required funding for social security and retirement out of the funding for K-12 public education.
    This artificially inflated the effort applied to the WPU without truly doing so. Higher Ed and public employees get their retirement and social security budgeted in their base budgets. So 1% increase WILL translate to a 1% increase in their salaries.
    As for teachers, because social security and retirement are not part of the base budget as they are in every other public employee budget, they will receive exactly NOTHING. Social security and retirement costs are estmiated to be 1.7%.Public education is not a priority for this Governor, this legislture or this state. THANK YOU UEA for advocating for our children and our teachers.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Dec. 13, 2012 2:13 p.m.

    In response to VST's questions: The state of Utah should revoke the change to the state constitution that occurred in 1996 which allowed previously education funding to go to higher education. Most of the money diverted to higher education was spent on roads.

    I understand that safe roads is important. But so is education funding. Citizens need to understand that the percentage of education spending in the state has diminished significantly over the years. It should be restored.

    If the state needs funding for roads, then present the need to the citizens and increase taxes as needed...for roads. But I believe education funding should be stable, predictable, and safe.

    You talk about safe roads. We also need predictable, safeguarded funds for education.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Dec. 13, 2012 10:43 a.m.

    When will be deploy a user fee for people who decide that society should subsidize their lifestyle choices? Society benefits from having an educated populace but large families are a burden to our limited resources and our quality of life. The first step towards balance should be having individuals fiscally responsible for their decisions. And don't use the term "head tax" it's a user fee for families with more than 2 children in public.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 13, 2012 8:52 a.m.

    Worf, I knew you had a heart of gold and thanks for serving our children in our country. Teachers have class and not just a class full of kids but real class. You are one of them.

    As a military retiree with 7 kids and having a devoted wife that put up with so many separations and uncertainty of where I would be the next day. She started teaching when our kids were in school and works as a principal with principles with devoted and dedicated teachers and administrators in her job.

    Parents are the anchor of children getting educated in partnership with teachers. Neither could do a successful job without the other. Parents who send their children to public schools are thankful for the opportunity to have their children taught by professionals who love and enjoy their job as a teacher. Teaching is sort of like a job in the military. It is a job that has to be done and citizens don't realize, in many cases, the sacrifices that teachers make on a daily basis.

    Teachers normally don't complain but are like parents, just want the best education for the children they teach.

    Thanks teachers, everyone/everywhere.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Dec. 13, 2012 7:00 a.m.

    What do you mean increased revenue? What they have are wishes and dreams of more money than they know what to do with.

    Its time to put education on the back burner and have this state legislators and the governor return to a reality phase on real money available to work with.

    Higher education is not a required or funded by education tax funds. Higher education is a private industry where investors are the budget providers, not taxpayers. The people of Utah have been disillusioned and lied to that colleges are entitled to taxation funds collected from taxpayers. On no property listing is any college or higher education school listed and a taxed entitlement, every thing collected on property tax and sales tax is destined for and given to schools for education from K1-K12.

    Colleges should be required to file for grants and funds directly to the federal government and not state public education taxes.

    The governor is leading Utah down the road to destruction with his false accusation of excessive funds and college funding when those funds do not exist. It is time for the governor to become accountable to taxpayers, not the investors profits of higher education.

  • Ricardo Carvalho Provo, UT
    Dec. 13, 2012 5:46 a.m.

    Howard - Why do you make the distinction in point 3 between higher and public education. The percentage of higher education funded by the state has decreased dramatically over the past several years leaving the student to pick up the difference through higher tuition. Whether this is appropriate or not is a different question. I am just pointing out that the two levels of education are facing the same situation.

  • DrGroovey Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 8:44 p.m.

    I think we would all like to see more money go to education, but the state has other employees who deserve consideration just as much as the teachers. There are fire fighters, highway patrolmen, those who investigate child abuse, emergency responders, safety inspectors, and many others. These people are just as important to the well being of the community as teachers are, but for some reason helping them is not as politically advantageous in Utah. I guess the power of the UEA carries a lot more weight than doing wht is right does.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Dec. 12, 2012 8:25 p.m.

    Howard Beal,

    You need to look out of the box, and without the blinders.

    If money was the answer, education would have been fixed a long time ago.

    There are many ways to manage existing funding, and provided high quality education. As a matter of fact, education is over funded.

    Do some objective research, and you'll find a ton of waste. After a point, money does not make a positive difference.

  • 1conservative WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 7:23 p.m.

    It would be interesting to see how much class sizes dropped if immigration laws were enforced.
    I wonder how much the schools spend on ESL classes?

    E-verify is very inexpensive to enforce!

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 7:09 p.m.

    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.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Dec. 12, 2012 6:38 p.m.

    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.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Dec. 12, 2012 5:54 p.m.

    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.

  • WilliamLee Ogden, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 5:38 p.m.

    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.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 5:27 p.m.

    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.

  • squirt Taylorsville, ut
    Dec. 12, 2012 5:17 p.m.

    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.

  • Fern RL LAYTON, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 4:46 p.m.

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

  • bcandersen Pleasant Grove, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 4:06 p.m.

    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.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Dec. 12, 2012 4:02 p.m.

    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.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 2:33 p.m.

    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.

  • first2third Elmo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 2:27 p.m.

    @ 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."

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    Dec. 12, 2012 2:00 p.m.

    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.

  • Y Ask Y Provo, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 1:33 p.m.

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

  • bricha lehi, ut
    Dec. 12, 2012 1:14 p.m.

    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.

  • bricha lehi, ut
    Dec. 12, 2012 12:53 p.m.

    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.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Dec. 12, 2012 12:52 p.m.

    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.

  • Bill Shakespeare Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 12:42 p.m.

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

  • FatherOfFour WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 12:16 p.m.

    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.

  • jotab Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 12, 2012 11:56 a.m.

    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.