Our Schools Now
Prior to April 15 of last spring, you were more than likely approached by someone to support the Our Schools Now ballot initiative. Supporters were on a movement to secure 113,000 Utah signatures, so it could be placed on the 2018 ballot.
So what is Our Schools Now? The movement started in the spring of 2017 when Utah’s most successful business leaders, along with highly-accomplished classroom teachers, filed the Teacher and Student Success Act with the Lt. Governor, officially launching the Our Schools Now initiative.
Proponents of the initiative stated “We must invest in the education of Utah’s children now by investing in teachers, classroom support, technology, early learning, and other proven drivers of student achievement. This initiative will increase funding for public education, higher education, and technical colleges by close to $1,000 per student. It puts the funds under the control of schools and requires those schools to develop plans to improve student outcomes.”
The initiative as written will slightly increase the Utah Sales and Income taxes and funnel the money directly to education. Funds will be distributed 85% to public K-12 students and 15% will be directed to higher education in Utah. The funds are set to be controlled by the local boards of education and each school community council. The funds will be spent according to each school plan.
The question is, “Should I support such an initiative?” The answer is somewhat complicated as most view the answer as somewhat loaded. This is a movement independent of our state legislature, so some worry that if the people support this type of end-around legislation the legislature may be unsympathetic and reduce existing education funding. Others feel the legislature is working as fast as they can to support the demands of our education system. Our local school board will decide this this week, if they can support this as a group or if this is one that has to be “your own opinion.” For more information, go to ourschoolsnow.com
Tracy Davis, Superintendent – Garfield County School District