Utah lawmakers already gave teachers a raise. Now there’s a push to tie it to inflation
Utah’s recently passed school voucher law also increases teacher compensation. That adjustment will start after the current school year, but some lawmakers now want it to keep pace with inflation.
HB215 increases teacher salaries by $4,200 and benefits by $1,800. Teachers are eligible for a compensation increase of the same $6,000 amount every year under the bill.
Republican Sen. Evan Vickers is sponsoring a separate bill, SB183, that would annually adjust that $6,000 figure to keep up with inflation, just like the state’s per-pupil funding.
The weighted pupil unit is the base amount of funding the state gives school districts and charter schools for every student enrolled. Lawmakers are required to increase it each year at least enough to cover inflation increases. Vickers’ proposal would raise the teacher salary adjustment by the same percentage it increases per-pupil funding.
“The changes here are very positive and will benefit educators in the state,” Jay Blain, with the Utah Education Association, told the Senate Education Committee on Feb. 10. “We give the appreciation here to the sponsor and would encourage everyone to support this bill.”
This change would apply to the pay increase approved in HB215 and to a previous $4,100 pay raise the legislature gave to certain teachers through the Teacher Salary Supplement Program.
It would make another change too. Currently, if a teacher gets one “unsatisfactory” evaluation, the pay increase from the state is taken away. Vickers' bill would increase it to three unsatisfactory evaluations before it is removed.
“It’s quite simple, it’s a short bill, but it’s very profound in the effect, especially on our teachers that are working so hard in the education community,” Vickers told lawmakers.
The Senate Education Committee voted unanimously to advance the bill and now it moves onto the full Senate for consideration.