The Utah Public Education Coalition believes in Santa Claus. Though the governor's budget shows an approximate $81 million increase in education funding in the minimum school program, the coalition has presented a $100 million list of education wishes it will promote during the upcoming legislative session.
Members of the coalition are the Utah Parent Teacher Association, Utah School Boards Association, Utah State Board of Education, Utah State Office of Education, Utah School Superintendents Association, Utah Association of Elementary School Principals and the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals.Among their priorities for 1991-92 funding:
- $25.1 million to cover the costs of about 6,500 students more than preliminary estimates anticipated.
- A 6 percent increase in the weighted pupil unit, the state's per-pupil basic education contribution.
- Salary increases sufficient to bring Utah educators to the Intermountain States average in three years.
- Full funding for the Career Ladder program, which has been stagnant for several years.
- Class size reduction in such critical areas as writing and for at-risk students. (The governor proposed money to reduce first-grade class loads).
- $12 million to cover the added costs of employee health insurance.
- $15 million for classroom technology.
- $5 million for asbestos removal and stabilization.
- $4 million for school library/media centers.
"We beleive our recommendations are in the best interest of Utah's 450,000 students," said Pat Hales, PTA president and coalition chairwoman.