Today, surrounded by hundreds of students at Falcon Ridge Elementary in West Jordan, Governor Gary R. Herbert signed four education bills.
"Funding the growth and continued innovation in our education system was my primary legislative priority," said Governor Herbert. "I am grateful it was the first priority of the Legislature, as well. These bills help sustain our forward momentum in providing the education our children need and deserve to be competitive in the global marketplace.
"The budget recommendations I released in December at Bountiful High School called for $111 million in new money for our public schools. The bills I signed today at Falcon Ridge Elementary provide $117 million in new money," he continued. "The Legislature saw my budget recommendations and then raised me, knowing that putting more money on the table for the children of Utah is always a good bet."
The four bills the Governor signed were:
x House Bill 7 - Current School Year Supplemental Public Education Budget Adjustments, sponsored by Representative Mel Brown
x Senate Bill 2 - Public Education Budget Amendments, sponsored by Senator Lyle Hillyard
x House Bill 513 - Early Intervention Program, sponsored by Representative Merlynn Newbold
x Senate Bill 64 - Public Education Employment Reform, sponsored by Senator Aaron Osmond
HB 7 and SB 2 are major appropriations bills which provide for the bulk of the State's education budget.
SB 64 requires most school employees to be evaluated annually and to have those evaluations publically reported. It makes a portion of administrator pay contingent on evaluations, and prescribes other requirements to increase educator accountability.
"It has been a gratifying experience for me as a freshman Senator to be involved in passing such meaningful legislation to increase both accountability and performance in our public schools," said Senator Aaron Osmond. "Even more gratifying was the collaborative support and involvement of education leaders across the state in crafting and passing SB 64."
HB 513 expands the State's early intervention efforts, including programs delivered through enhanced kindergarten, and software to provide literacy and numeracy instruction and assessments for kindergarten and first grade students.
"As a member of the Governor's Education Excellence Commission, I was pleased to sponsor HB 513. Early Intervention was one of the Commission's top funding priorities for this legislative session," said Representative Merlynn Newbold. "We recognize that children enter the public education with a wide variety of literacy, numeracy, verbal, and social skills. Efforts made to close those gaps at an early age are most effective for the child and the best use of public education dollars."
"We funded the growth in our schools and added 1.15% to the Weighted Pupil Unit, giving teachers the first salary increase in four years," said Christine Kearl, Governor Herbert's Senior Education Advisor. "We also funded programs which find new and innovative ways to stretch our education dollars and deliver better education outcomes. All in all, this was an incredible year for education in Utah."