Eighteen Utah school districts have submitted acceptable plans for the use of their share of the state's $15 million technology initiative money.
Plans from five other districts are being reviewed, and 17 districts have not yet submitted proposals. The plans are reviewed by a panel of the Utah Educational Technology Initiative.E. Curtis Fawson, project director, told the Legislature's interim education committee that three colleges of education have also been approved and a fourth, Southern Utah State College, submitted a plan this week.
The Legislature appropriated $15 million, of which $1.3 million will go to colleges and universities to support teacher training in technology and other projects. Each district receives an equal amount of the remainder, with additional shares based on student numbers.
The school districts are at varying stages of implementing technology, Fawson said, with some just starting up and others ready to move into more sophisticated applications of technology they already have.
James R. Moss, executive director of the Utah Partnership for Education and Economic Development, the technology initiative's parent organization, told the legislators progress is being made toward raising the required $10 million private match for the state's $15 million appropriation.
Robert H. Garff of Garff Enterprises Inc. has been named to head a finance committee that will oversee the fund raising, Moss said. Other members of the committee are Wendell Ashton, publisher emeritus of the Deseret News; Reed Searle, general manager, Intermountain Power Agency; Douglas F. Sonntage, director of public affairs, Utah Power & Light Co.; Henry E. Jolley, superintendent, Wasatch District; Lynn D. Davidson, president, Granite Board of Education; Mike Leavitt of the Leavitt Group; Patrick A. Shea, general counsel, KUTV; Hyrum W. Smith, chairman, Franklin Institute; Ronald L. Stevens, superintendent, Murray District; and Steven Snow, vice president, Washington District Board of Education.
Raising the $10 million is "not going to be easy," Moss said, but he believes there has been significant progress toward setting up a mechanism for raising the private funds. A professional will be hired at a cost of $20,000 to help create such a mechanism.
He said a significant amount of money can be solicited through federal programs and national foundations.
Rep. Richard Bradford, R-Sandy, said he is not certain how the Legislature would react if the $10 million match is not accomplished before the 1991 legislative session - which is highly likely.
The task has "proved a much greater challenge than we envisioned," he said. "But there is no question we can achieve the goals. It may take longer to get (a mechanism) in place than we anticipated. We'll just have to review it at the time (the Legislature meets)."