More than half of this year's new money went to fund public education.
Public schools at press time were expected to receive $441 million, with $100 million in a savings account in case the economy goes south, according to House estimates. But the big issue was an omnibus bill that combined more than a dozen education bills into one.
Though some lawmakers and education leaders didn't like the idea of the bundled bills, the measure resulted in the nearly $2.5 billion Minimum School Program Act, which includes a 2.5 percent boost to the WPU (the state's basic school funding formula) and a $1,700 raise for teachers.
A number of reform bills and pilot programs also were included in the omnibus, including $2.9 million to provide up to $600 stipends for special educators' extra work; $6.9 million to let math and science teachers work year-round; and $5 million to give $4,100 in extra salary to math, science and technology teachers; $3.5 million to give software to families to prepare preschoolers for kindergarten; and $100,000 to offset International Baccalaureate program costs.
Revisions also were made to how charter schools are funded, essentially replacing some state funding with school district money.
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and GOP legislative leaders also were working on a $25 million, one-time deal at press time to bring the WPU equivalent to a 6 percent hike.