USBE: State Board opposes House Bill 215

The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) voted today in opposition to House Bill 215 (H.B. 215), Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education Opportunities.

H.B. 215, 3rd Substitute would require the use of public education funding to establish the Utah Fits All Scholarship Program and create $8,000 scholarships for students to access qualified services such as tutoring, instructional materials, assessment preparation, or tuition and fees of a qualifying provider, including private schooling.

The board voted 10-5 to oppose the bill as currently written. Some of the issues raised by board members include a lack of student data privacy, questions about program oversight, and the process of drafting and debating the bill. Many members of the board also recognized frustration from educators and schools for not separating educator salary increases from the scholarship program.

USBE has compiled a list of questions and feedback that was sent to the bill sponsors last week. The Board expressed its desire to continue partnering with the legislature to provide insight on how the bill may be improved.

Debate on the bill will resume in the Senate Education Standing Committee on Monday, January 23, at 2 p.m. If the committee votes in favor of the bill, it will be sent to the full senate floor for a final vote.