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Utah School Board Asks for $90 Million Increase in Per-Student Spending

The Utah School Board voted Thursday to finalize the 2017 public education budget proposal they’ll ask the state legislature to consider later this month. Board Chair Dave Crandall says they’re asking the legislature to fully fund the arrival of new students and increase per-pupil spending, or Weighted Pupil Unit by 3.5 percent, about $90 million. 

“Funding for growth is always our top priority and increase in the WPU to at least maintain the effort,” Crandall says. “Kind of the basic maintenance to support salary increases, step and lane changes for teachers and some of the other increasing cost of benefits like health insurance premiums and retirement.”

Another priority for the board is funding a technology initiative that uses software and electronic devices in the classroom to educate students and assist teachers. Crandall says they’re asking for $50 million.

“So we involved several stakeholders, including superintendents to make sure we have a solid plan in place and something that makes sense so that schools and districts apply for grants that they’re ready and committed to have a successful experience with the new technology they’d be bringing into the schools,” Crandall says.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s 2017 budget proposal calls for a 4.7 percent increase in per-pupil spending. Utah Lawmakers will spend the 45 days of the general session vetting both proposals before passing a final budget in March.  

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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