The Utah School Boards Association will seek a 1 percent increase in public education's share of the state budget during the 1993 legislative session. The money is needed to finance the state's strategic education plan, local school board members say.
The strategic plan calls for Utah teachers to be paid salaries that average those of surrounding states. Also in the plan are proposals for individual student education plans, additional counseling for students and increased training opportunities for teachers - all of which carry a price tag.In a recent meeting, the USBA adopted a number of positions the local boards will support during the winter session.
Among their recommendations is a fully state-funded capital outlay equalization program. The controversial "Robin Hood" bill adopted by the 1992 Legislature pits the state's richer districts against those whose local resources produce less income.
The boards also will ask for modification of the state's laws regarding student fee waivers, along with full funding for the waiver program. Some school districts have experienced significant income losses through fee waivers as a result of a court injunction ordering full compliance with the law.
Along with full funding for current education programs, other USBA legislative positions include:
- Continued support for improved management of school trust lands and for an agreement between the state and federal governments to exchange lands now held in national parks, forests and Indian reservations.
- Amendments to redevelopment laws to protect education taxes, without eliminating the positive elements of redevelopment.
- Elimination of a law requiring higher percentage salary adjustments for classified employees than for teachers.
- Authority for school districts to charge a development impact fee.
- Reduction of the number of special sales and property tax exemptions now on the books as a way to increase state revenues.