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Utah to receive $7.7 million to hire 200 teachers

Utah this week will receive $7.7 million from the federal government to hire nearly 200 teachers to reduce class size in first through third grades.

"That means that students returning to school this fall will get more individual attention, teachers should face fewer discipline problems and have more orderly classrooms, and students can benefit from a better learning environment," U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley said.Funding to the states is determined by formula, with added funds targeted to the poorest school districts. Up to 15 percent of the funds can be used to provide teacher training and other items.

President Clinton wants to continue the class-size reduction program over the next six years, hiring 100,000 teachers nationwide to reduce average student-teacher ratios to 18-1 in lower grades.

Utah's average student-teacher ratio is about 23-1, the nation's second highest behind California.

Studies show smaller classes result in increased academic achievement, reduced discipline problems and thus, more time spent on instruction, the Education Department states.