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.