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Utah State Rep. Looks To Increase Special Education Funding — Again

Photo of U.S. Capitol under blue sky.
Nicole Nixon
A Utah state lawmaker is trying to get additional state funding for special education.

After failing to get additional funding for special education in Utah earlier this year, a state lawmaker is trying again. 

Right now, public schools get funding for special education based on how many kids attended the school two years ago. A bill introduced in the 2020 general session by Rep. Marsha Judkins, R-Provo, would have changed that to one year ago. 

It received near-unanimous support in both the House and Senate, but it would have cost the state nearly $10 million and it wasn’t included in the final budget passed in mid-March. 

“What that tells us is that we are underfunding the special education students to the tune of $10 million,” Judkins said.

Now, she is trying again. Judkins has asked attorneys for the Legislature to re-draft the bill for next year’s general session that starts in January. 

But, state tax revenues are plummeting due to the coronavirus pandemic, which she acknowledged could make it even harder to get the bill across the finish line next year.

“I'm hopeful that we will just take a fair and honest assessment of our priorities,” she said. “Whether it gets funded or not ... I think it's important for legislators to know that we are not being as accurate in our special education funding as we should be.”

Judkins said more special education funding could also help with the state’s teacher shortage.

Sonja Hutson covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER.
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