This is a shortened version of the UEA Under the Dome report. Look there for a more in-depth write-up of the session.
The biggest education bill of the session happened early. Senate Bill 1 included growth and inflation in the base budget, as well as a 6% increase on the WPU, one-time money for bonuses, and $43 Million on-time for enrollment fluctuations. This happened because of your activism last February (remember the walk-ins?), and the deals that grew out of last year’s tax reform fight.
Although funding was largely decided early in the session with the passage of the base budget, UEA continued to advocate throughout the session for specific funding needs. The UEA lobbying team testified in many committee meetings, both in-person and virtually.
Engagement this year looked different – there were no Educator Day on the Hill events. But members did get involved through daily Under the Dome website updates, “Capitol Insights” emails, and weekly briefings with the UEA Legislative Team.
Like last year, there was a UEA Policy Ambassador program this year, and we had three GEA members participate as Policy Ambassadors.
Brian Barnum is a counselor at Kearns High. Read his essay on engaging with stakeholders here: https://myuea.org/Articles/united_we_stand_legislative_post_by_uea_policy_ambassador_brian_barnum.aspx
Hunter Clapsadl teaches 6th grade at Diamond Ridge. Her essay on teachers getting involved in politics can be read here: https://www.myuea.org/Articles/as_a_teacher_your_job_is_political_legislative_post_by_uea_policy_ambassador_hunter_clapsadl.aspx
Elliott Tupea teaches business at Hunter High. His essay on raising our united voice is here: https://myuea.org/Articles/every_voice_is_needed_legislative_post_by_uea_policy_ambassador_elliott_tupea.aspx
Below is just a sampling of the education-related bills the legislature took up this year. For the full spreadsheet, see Under the Dome.
Good things that passed:
😊+ Senate Bill 184 no school grading requirement for 2020-2021
😊+ House Bill 381scholarships for paras to become teachers.
😊+ House Bill 421 intensive services fund $1 M
😊+ Senate Bill 154 includes deaf education in the TSSP.
Dumb things we helped kill:
😊+ Attempts to dictate curriculum: House Bill 258, House Bill 177, and Senate Bill 229 all failed.
😊+ House Bill 428 would have moved control from elected school board members to an appointed panel
😊+ Senate Bill 242 temporary voucher-like reimbursement scheme
😊+ Senate Bill 175 would have loosened the rules for using state funding for charter schools.
Good things we couldn’t get passed:
☹ House Bill 105 would have put $2.6 M into SpEd through a better funding formula. Wasn’t funded.
☹ Senate Bill 91 would have permanently eliminated the single letter grade for schools. Never heard.
☹ HB340: MOST Program would have reinstated the Math and Science Opportunities for Students and Teachers program, formerly known as USTAR. Passed House, but didn't get funded, so died in Senate.
Dumb things that passed:
☹- Senate Bill 107 by the 7th substitute, requires every school district to offer four day per week in-person instruction by March 22, set thresholds for the test-to-stay program and returning to remote learning.
Again, this is a very incomplete list. Your myuea.org page has in-depth information. Now with the legislative session done, we need to thank our friends on Capitol Hill, and start planning how to get more of them elected next time around.