During the 2016 Utah legislative session, 465 bills were passed by our legislators. If you would like to view the bills, you can access them at http://le.utah.gov/asp/passedbills/passedbills.asp During the session, there were approximately 124 bills relating to education and of those 66 passed into law. A few of the highlights include a 3% increase in the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) for all public schools in the state. This equates to approximately $78 million. Also for those districts that are experiencing student growth, an additional $94 million is allocated to the new student enrollments.
A few key bills to be aware of include SB78S3, which outlines the election process fort State School Board members which allows for nonpartisan primary elections for the 2016 election year and then changing to partisan elections for the 2018 election year. Essentially, this bill requires potential State School Board candidates to identify a political party or collect 2,000 signatures to be considered for the ballot. For the 2016 State School Board elections all candidates shall be placed on the primary ballot and narrowed down to two candidates for the general election.
The second bill to be aware of is SB38S4, which creates a levy on your county tax notices for charter school funding. The changes to the tax payers are expected to be revenue neutral to the school districts and charter schools. These changes to the local tax notices will begin in FY18. You might think Garfield County School District does not have charter schools within its geographical area; however, this belief is not correct. If a student lives in GCSD but does not attend a school in our district and enrolls in online charter school, the charter school receives local tax payers funding. Also, if the parents of student claim their primary residence in Garfield County and send their student to attend a charter school outside of the district, the charter school receives local tax payer funding. Last year GCSD paid approximately $10,000 from local tax collections to charter schools as required by state law. Changes from SB38S4 will reduce the board local levy for GCSD by approximately $10,000 and add a charter school levy of approximately $10,000 to the tax notices to show a more transparent representation to the tax payers.
Garfield County School District