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Bill That Guarantees Math And Science Teachers Extra Pay Moves To Senate

Lee Hale

A bill that ensures math and science teachers get extra pay passed out of a State Senate Committee Wednesday Night.

The idea is that math and science teachers need a little more incentive to stick around. $5,200 to be exact.


The yearly bonus is meant to deter qualified teachers from leaving jobs that school districts have a hard time filling.


“Subjects that were hard to fill because of the competition in the industry," says Republican Representative Kay Christofferson, the sponsor of H.B. 108. 


Christofferson explains the bill would expand on an initiative currently in place by Utah’s State Board of Education.


Around 1,200 teachers in the state already receive this incentive. This bill would qualify 400 more, costing the state a little less than a million and half dollars.


Susie Sommerkorn, a calculus teacher at Clearfield High School, spoke out in favor the bill. She says the current program doesn’t reach far enough.


Even though Sommerkorn is Davis School District’s teacher of the year, she doesn’t qualify for the incentive because she didn’t study math education in college.


"I would have to go back and get a completely new degree from one institution," says Sommerkorn.


Sommerkorn would be included with this bill, which passed the committee with a unanimous vote and will head to the Senate floor. It passed the House of Representatives earlier this month.


Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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