People willing to become math, science and special education teachers would get — or keep getting — special bonuses if the Education Interim Committee has its way.

The committee Wednesday recommended a bill to keep the Public Education Job Enhancement Program, which aims to attract and keep high-demand junior high and high school math, science and technology teachers.

It also wants to include in the program other high-demand teachers, including special education, speech pathology, chemistry and math.

The committee also hoped to eventually lift the program to its original $9.9 million funding level.

"(It's) time, as the economy has turned around, to get back to our original intent that students in the state of Utah have a quality teacher in every classroom," said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper and committee co-chairman.

The program, initiated in 2001, is to sunset next July. It has given out $10.5 million in tuition aid (up to $20,000 per student), signing bonuses ($5,000) and awards for excellence ($10,000).

Teachers accepting the money agree to stick around at least four years.