SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would allow elementary schools to ask parents to voluntarily provide school supplies for their children unanimously passed out of the House on Tuesday. It now moves to the Senate.
Sponsored by Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, HB62 has the support of the State Board of Education. It has appeared before the House in some incarnation each of the last three years, but lost steam at the end of the last session. Powell has brought it back in the form of a bill rather than a constitutional amendment and believes it is a "win, win, win for three groups of Utah citizens," namely schools, teachers and parents.
The legislation would allow teachers to give parents a list of suggested classroom supplies that parents could opt out of providing for any reason. The list must state that participation is voluntary and that the school will furnish the supplies free of charge if the parents don't provide them.
Previous judicial interpretations of the Utah Constitution prohibit any form of school fees at the elementary level — that includes requiring parents to provide school supplies. But Powell said he wants schools to be able to ask parents to be involved in their child's education if they can afford it.
"This is going to provide additional means to get some more money into our schools by people who can afford to provide it," Powell told his colleagues Tuesday. "This will empower parents and families to participate more in the lives of their children who are in school. ... It's a policy I think we should follow in Utah."