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Funding for Education News!

Incoming Budget Cuts to Education

Here is a sobering update on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis impact on the education budget. Overall, the total budget of the state of Utah could be reduced by as much as 10% (2 billion out of about 20 billion) and all state Agencies in Utah, including the Utah State Board of Education, have been asked by the Utah Legislature to prepare recommendations for budget cuts of 2, 5, and 10 percent as a means of preparing the state for cuts should they be needed in light of the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) met last Thursday and approved its scenarios  of budget reduction, 2%, 5% and 10% (382 Millions). These will be proposed to the appropriation committee at the legislature next week.

What an incredible difference from just 2 months ago!

Just 2 months ago, we celebrated a ‘win’, with H.B.357, the Public Education Funding Stabilization (see my email from April 7th).
# Increase the WPU per-student spending by 6% for FY2021 (from 3,532 to 3,743) — or more than $200 millions.
# $200,000 for teaching T.H. Bell scholarships to retain teachers.
# A statutory requirement that Utah boost education funding each year by at least the cost of enrollment growth and inflation.
# Lawmakers will set aside money each year — starting with $75 million and capping out at roughly $400 million — in a new reserve account for use during an economic downturn.
# Funding enrollment growth and inflation

During  their Thursday meeting, the USBE recommended up to 382 Millions in budget cuts – about 10% of the overall budget. Please find the excellent article from the Deseret news (https://www.deseret.com/utah/2020/5/21/21266955/state-school-board-budget-cuts-legislature-coronavirus-covid-19).

Some highlights are below. You’d expect that if cuts were done, they’d affect these expenses, but it is nevertheless very painful and will have negative consequences in our classrooms.

Regardless, at the 2% cuts – 76 Millions,
# Professional staff – 20 Millions
# Chart school cuts, cuts of 12 Millions
# School turnaround, cuts of 7 Millions
# Flexible allocation cuts 7.8 Millions
# Teacher and Student Success Act (TSSA) cut of 5.3 Million, The TSSA was passed in law recently, and just took effect on….. Jan 1st, 2020 and was supposed to support teachers and school performance.
# Upstart early education, cuts of 3 Millions
# Special ed intensive services, cuts of 2.8 Millions

The 5% would eliminate the class size reduction program, cutting another $150 Million.

The 10% cuts would do further cuts, with the TSSP and TSSA being the biggest victims
# Complete elimination of the Teacher and Student Success Act (TSSA), cuts of 94 Million, The TSSA was passed in law recently, and just took effect on….. Jan 1st, 2020 and was supposed to support teachers and school performance.
# Complete elimination of the Teacher Salary Supplement Program (TSSP) which incentivizes math & science teachers in middle schools. 19 Millions.

Please click here to see the details of the cuts proposed. https://usbe.civicclerk.com/Web/GenFile.aspx?ad=3729.

I will keep you posted on the legislature’s decisions, and will let you know when I know the impact on the GSD budget, but these measures will inevitably have a dramatic impact on all school districts budgets, including ours.