Monday, February 4, 2013

It’s all about the money for state schools at Utah Legislature

The future of Utah’s schools comes down to one simple thing this year: money.

How much money will state lawmakers have to pump into Utah schools is always the dominant issue each legislative session, but this year there is an added element of uncertainty. Fiscal issues in Washington, D.C., including the pending fiscal cliff, caused projected state revenues to go from black to red in a hurry.

State analysts are expected to release revenue numbers Feb. 19, which will allow the budget process to move forward. Estimates on what those numbers will show have ranged from projected deficits of $50 million to $300 million, to a small surplus.

One of the challenges in funding education is Utah’s growth pattern. State schools have grown at approximately 2.2 percent over the past few years, forcing leaders to scramble to fund the growth just to keep the status quo, let alone find new revenue for teachers and programs. Standard Examiner

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