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Education

State Lawmakers Revise Education Budget in Special Session

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Andrea Smardon
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Utah Lawmakers were able to find the funds necessary to fill a $25 million gap in Utah’s education budget that officials failed to catch during the 2012 legislative session. The House and Senate voted unanimously, during a special session of the legislature Wednesday to approve adjustments to next year’s budget.

Lawmakers  were quick to note, the stop-gap is a one-time funding measure, which means the state will face a structural deficit of $25.3 million in next year’s budget. Senator Lyle Hillyard, chairman of the Executive Appropriations Committee, told his Senate colleagues he appreciates the state office of education taking responsibility for the error.

“I have some people say, public education ought to pay a price for making a mistake and I say to them, basically it’s the kids in the state of Utah," he says.

State school Superintendent Larry Shumway says it’s safe to say the legislature has made good on promises to fund education, despite the challenge that came out of the his office.

“The origins of these errors are pretty well known," he says. "A spreadsheet error in a calculation. In a formula. And those errors happen in excel when you try to run a $2.5 or $3 billion budget there. We’re working hard to correct that.”

Two employees resigned from the office of education following the discovery of the clerical error several months ago.

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