Six school districts have now applied to pilot a block grant program over the next few years. The number will be pared to five during the June 17 meeting of the State Board of Education, which is expected to act on the recommendations of a committee that is screening the applications.
Gov. Norm Bangerter promoted the block grant concept, which would allow school districts to have a portion of their state money to spend as they chose, rather than being specifically allocated for programs according to a state formula.Tooele, Weber and Cache districts had applied for the block grants before the deadline last month. The legislation setting up the program calls for five districts to pilot the concept, and the deadline was extended to Monday. Carbon, Salt Lake and Park City districts added their applications during the extension.
The applicant districts appear to meet the legislative requirement that the test be made by a cross section of rich/poor, urban/rural and large/ small districts, said Scott Bean, assistant state superintendent of education.
He said the committee that will screen the applications, consisting of representatives of education and government, will meet during the coming week or so to study the proposals and suggest elimination of one of the districts to meet the legislative requirement.
The coming year will be a planning year for the selected districts. During the 1989-90 year, a portion of their state money will be in a block that they may distribute among district needs as their boards choose.
If the project is successful after it has been tried by the five districts, block grants may be made available to all of the state's school districts.