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Legislature Restores Education Funding Vetoed By Governor

Brian Grimmett

Utah lawmakers restored education

   funding to the state budget during a special session of the legislature Wednesday. Governor Gary Herbert vetoed the funding following the 2016 general session.

Senate Bill 2001 restored roughly $4.77 million to the state’s 2017 education budget, including $1.5 million for the UPSTART Early Education program and $275,000 one-time funding for the Utah ProStart Teen Chef Masters program that includes a reality TV cooking show, where students compete for a scholarship.

Republican Senator Howard Stephenson said as part of the agreement to hold a special session, the appropriations subcommittee would study each of the programs before the next session to ensure they’re successful.

“And we will then make a recommendation on whether to continue funding, reduce funding or increase funding for each of these programs,” Stephenson said.

On the House floor Wednesday, Democratic Representative Joel Briscoe also voiced concern over the cooking show. He asked why the legislature wasn’t using the ProStart Teen Chef money to expand the ProStart program, rather than pay for the TV show.

House Sponsor Francis Gibson thanked the body for the line of questioning, but asked why the questions weren’t asked during the general session.

“I look forward as we talk about education items in the next session to the same vigorous scrutiny and debate,” Gibson said. “These questions weren’t asked before a veto was offered either.”

Governor Herbert rejected funding for several programs that he said needed further evaluation. He added the ProStart Teen Chef Masters program wasn’t an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.

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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