Utah's determination to increase vocation-al/technical education in public schools will stand it in good stead when new federal regulations become effective.
The state already has a five-year plan in place, including individual plans in nine regions, said Bruce Griffin, associate state superintendent for education. He reported recently to the State Board of Education on federal guidelines for a modified Carl Perkins program to support vocational education.The new federal guidelines are aimed at getting more economically disadvantaged and handicapped students into effective vocational programs, Griffin said. Money under the new programs will be allocated to the states beginning in 1992 and Congress will reassess the program in 1995, he said.
Utah's share will be approximately $7.8 million.
The funding formulas work against Utah, however, said Deputy Superintendent Scott W. Bean. The allocations are based on the same poverty figures used to determine state shares of Chapter 1 funds, he said. Utah, with 1 percent of the students in the country, falls way short of a comparable percentage of the money. If the allocations were based on student numbers, Utah would get about $14 million for the Perkins vocational program.
The new formula will provide 70 percent of local funds based on Chapter 1 guidelines; 20 percent for handicapped students; and 10 percent based on enrollment.
Funding to area technical centers, which combine public education and adult education, will be based on a center's participation in Pell grants, Bureau of Indian Affairs grants and waivers, he said. Under that formula, the Perkins money to Utah ATCs will be less evenly divided.
Griffin said two public hearings will be held to seek public input on the state vocational/technical plan. He also told board members that because of the restructuring of the Perkins program, Utah could lose about $600,000 in funding for state staff to direct the program. Funds now will go directly to local school districts, which must also have plans in place for spending the money.
Board member M. Richard Max-field said the board, which also sits as the board for vocational education, will have to address four issues related to changes in the federal program: leadership from the state to local units; funding cuts for state staff; equalization of funding for the ATCs; and division of money between public and higher education.