Thursday, March 4, 2010
We've been encouraged by Superintendent Henshaw to contact our representatives and ask them to support this bill. Here's a bit of background, followed by a summary of the bill will do:
Currently, districts are required by statute to use all capital outlay (revenue from property taxes) on building construction and maintenance.
What this means during difficult economic times like these is that your school might get a new gym floor, but teachers may be cut or class sizes increased. It's one of those things that gets parents shaking their heads; however, understand that under the current state law, the money is earmarked for repairs and improvements--not to pay teacher salaries.
If passed, HB 295 1S will allow districts to choose how they want to spend this revenue for the next two years, hoping that the economy will improve and by the end that time we'll have more in our school coffers.
This will make it possible for the district to make decisions about capital outlay that their hands were formerly tied on. If a school doesn't need critical improvements in order to ensure the safety of children, the district could choose to keep class sizes smaller and ignore some needed repairs.
In other words, re-wax the gym floor and let it go for a couple of years, and keep class sizes stable.
You may have heard that this bill is only affecting Jordan and Canyon school districts. No! The passage of HB 295 1S will affect every district in the state.
As of Thursday noon, this bill is on the House Third Reading Calendar, which means it will be voted on fairly soon. Please contact your representative right away and let him or her know that Utah PTA supports this bill! We believe it is in the best interest of children.
The bill's sponsor is Rep. Ken Sumsion (Lehi). He will most likely vote for his own bill, so if you contact him, just thank him for his work on behalf of kids and let him know he has our support.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
In United States politics and government, caucus has several distinct but related meanings. In the state of Utah, a caucus is a meeting of members of a political party or subgroup to coordinate members' actions, choose group policy, or nominate candidates for various offices. These meetings are held once a year in early spring, prior to county conventions.
When you attend your precinct caucus on March 23, here's what will happen:
1. Each precinct represents a relatively small geographical area, so you'll be attending with your neighbors--no need to feel intimidated or anxious.
2. You'll elect precinct chair and other precinct officers. If you'd like to be considered for office, be prepared to state how you'll represent your precinct. No prior experience is necessary--just a desire to serve and be involved.
3. You'll elect delegates, who will go on to the county and state party conventions. (Anyone can attend the conventions; however, only delegates will be able to vote.)
Note: Each party has its own constitution and bylaws. Rules for your caucus meeting as well as any specific bylaws pertaining to the election process will be made available to you at the meeting, or you can find them ahead of time by visiting your party Web site. Also, precinct officer and delegate responsibilities will be laid out for you at your meeting.
Sometimes attendance at precinct meetings is sparse. Often a precinct officer will find herself serving as a delegate as well. This is certainly allowable, as long as the other precinct members have had the opportunity to vote her in.
If you're elected as a delegate, plan to be in contact with as many members of your precinct as possible before your party conventions, in order to find out their views and be able to represent them. You can also take time to discuss issues with them at the precinct meeting. Very often, other precinct members will discuss the issues and elect their delegates based on how they feel they will be represented.
If you need information on where your precinct caucus will be held, check your party Web site, or contact your precinct chair.
If you're not ready to be voted into office this year, attend your caucus meetings anyway!! Plan to attend your party's county and state conventions. There you'll get an idea how the process works, and feel better equipped to serve (or elect your representation) in the future.
Monday, February 1, 2010
The new and improved bill sheet is available here. It's easy to understand, so check it out to see what PTA is following this legislative session.
Positions are taken on bills each Wednesday. If you don't see a bill here, check back each week for updates.