Make School A Priority
With school starting in many parts of District 73, teachers, parents and all Utah residents will turn their attention to the state’s educational needs. As we know, Utah student populations rank near the top in the nation, so providing adequate funding to maintain quality education challenges us annually. The rural schools of Utah House District 73 face specific challenges with a smaller tax base and fewer students. We depend on Necessarily Existent Small Schools funding (NESS) to help cover the cost to our rural schools and keep educational opportunities reasonably equal to those in urban areas of the state. In order to have our students receive equal quality services we must have a strong voice in the State legislature. I would like to be that voice for District 73.
Our rural districts have done an amazing job with current school funds, however, these only cover yearly operating costs. In order to go forward, we must look at other funding sources especially through the State legislature where crucial spending decisions are made based on the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU). The State legislature is also where early childhood programs and early educator programs are appropriated resources from the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) as well as Early Literacy and social service support for students at-risk and in Title 1 schools. In District 73 the majority of our schools are Title 1 and have a larger proportion of students at risk despite fewer pupils. School counselors and social workers will help our at-risk kids, but require dedicated funding.
I believe that focusing resources on early childhood education (0 - 6 years old), extended kindergarten and teacher retention incentives have the best return on investment and ensure quality education down the road. A strong education can directly benefit a trained and able workforce so I support Career Technical Education (CTE) Programs and STEM programs.
Our schools are the heart of our communities and making District 73 a great place to live will mean keeping our “heart” strong.
By partnering with our schools I believe we can diversify and strengthen our economy for the future. Developing broadband throughout all of District 73 will allow us to link our schools to advanced technology, innovative business, vocational training and CTE programs thus creating opportunities in the current job market. Skilled tradesmen are needed in our communities now. We must continue to focus on training the next generation in our schools today to meet this demand. Creating partnerships with other job sectors, ensuring a successful education for our children and young adults will provide pathways to a diversified economy, a solid future and a great place for all of us to live.
As a candidate for the Utah House of Representatives in District 73, ensuring that all children have the same access to quality instruction is a top priority for me. I will seek feedback from local education experts as they pursue ideas for public education legislation, seek support for ballot initiatives and determine their funding needs. I will help build partnerships between schools and the business community. And I will seek ways to increase the resources available to our public school system.