State House Democrats complained Tuesday morning as the base budget for public education was adopted that critical funds were being “cut” from needy programs.
But the majority Republicans quickly reminded their minority friends that 2 percent base budget reductions were a valuable exercise in program-reevaluation, and that come the end of the 2015 general session public education will be getting hundreds of millions of dollars more in funding next year.
Meanwhile, a recent poll, now being published for the first time by UtahPolicy, shows that most Utahns want public education teachers to get professional development training.
The survey, originally conducted for the pre-legislative conference sponsored by the Exoro Group consultants and Zions Bank, and performed by Dan Jones & Associates, found that 52 percent of Utahns favor such professional development for teachers, 14 percent oppose and 31 percent were “neutral” – or had no opinion one way or the other.
Various kinds of professional teacher development were trimmed back during the hard budget days of the Great Recession.
Now public education advocates are saying it’s time to adopt a clear professional development track for K-12 teachers – which will both help the teachers and the education of Utah’s school children.
Jones found that 48 percent of Republicans support such a development plan, 15 percent of the GOP oppose and 35 percent were neutral.
Democrats greatly favor teacher development, 70 approve of such a plan, 7 percent oppose and 23 percent were neutral.
The political independents were in favor, 54 percent, while 13 percent were opposed and 28 percent neutral.
Of course, such a development program will cost some tax dollars.
Jones asked if Utahns favor, oppose or were neutral when learning that such a new program would cost $6 million a year over the next five years.
He found that 41 percent of all Utahns still favored the plan after the finances were attached, 23 percent opposed and 34 percent were neutral.
Republicans were more concerned – 36 percent still favored the teacher development plan, 28 percent opposed and 34 percent were neutral.
Most Democrats were still onboard – 56 percent favor, 6 percent oppose and 38 percent neutral.
Political independents were in the middle of the two partisan sides – 45 percent still favored the development plan when the finances were added, 19 percent were opposed and 32 percent were neutral.
One might think that Utahns with grade school children living at home would be more in favor of such a professional teacher development program.
But Jones found that 52 percent of Utahns with K-12 kids at home favored the development program, while 51 percent of Utahns without school-age kids at home favored the program.