Career ladder, the program Utah teachers either love or hate, will be indexed to the basic education budget if a subcommittee decision holds through the session. That means its funding would increase as the money in the basic program increases, rather than being considered as a separate line item.

The career ladder money, offered to give teachers more money for extra days, extra training and extra work, has been diluted over the past few years because legislators have not increased the pool. At the same time, the number of teachers competing for the money has increased considerably.Members of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee heard differing views on how teachers feel about career ladders. Almost universally educators want the extra days for preparation and planning. A "performance bonus" provision, on the other hand, is problematic in many school districts.

The State Office of Education also asked for a $6.7 million addition to the career ladder pot as a building block to the education budget, but the subcommittee put that request on hold.

A Senate bill that would have done away with the career ladder program by folding the funds into the basic program without requiring districts to maintain the concept died in committee. Indexing to the weighted pupil unit will not eliminate the program. It will, however, have a ripple effect on several education budgets, said Mike Kjar, legislative fiscal analyst.