The State Board of Education thinks asbestos in schools looks like a rainy day if ever there was one.
The board voted Friday to try to convince Gov. Norm Bangerter that asbestos abatement in the schools would be a likely candidate for some of the governor's proposed "rainy day" fund - if he gets one.The governor has proposed siphoning a $20 million cushion for one-time-only projects in the state out of the $110 million surplus the state has accumulated this year. The matter will be decided during a special legislative session in July.
Board members thought the $50 million asbestos problem schools face fits that description. The schools are being pressured by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to survey buildings, find asbestos and develop plans to get rid of or encapsulate it so fibers do not create a health hazard.
There has also been talk of shelling out as much as $10 million of the $20 million fallback fund to investors who lost money when several of Utah's thrift institutions failed. The state school board would settle for a similar amount to help local districts deal with their asbestos problems.
And that would leave the state with no rainy day fund.
As the old saying goes, when it rains, it pours.