Governor Gary Herbert on Wednesday laid out his vision for education and solving Utah’s teacher shortage problem.
At KUED’s monthly news conference the governor said that he was happy to see $1.8 billion of new money go into education over the last five years—but he said it’s still not enough.
“We’ve got to find ways to fund at the level that would be appropriate for us to improve our outcomes,” he told reporters. “We want to be the best performing education system in America. That’s going to take a collaborative effort. It’s also going to take some more money to help our teachers.”
School districts have had trouble recruiting and retaining teachers in recent years. With a shortage of educators and a growing student population, classroom sizes are growing unsustainably.
Gov. Herbert said one of the best starting points for fixing that problem is making teacher salaries more competitive with other states.
“I think we’re going to have to raise starting salaries,” he said. “I think we’re going to have to pay, on the ladder scale, more money. I think we need [to] maybe extend the ladder so that teachers’ salaries don’t top out and then have the teachers say, ‘Well, the only way I can get more money is to move over to administration.’”
Herbert also said he’d like to see more performance-based pay and incentives for people to teach in rural areas.
The Governor suggested reprioritizing $1.2 billion over four years in the state budget to move to education.