Governor proposes largest education increase in 25 years

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Students and teachers in Utah can expect $502 million in new funds in FY 2016 if Governor Herbert’s budget proposal is adopted. That would bring Utah’s total education funding to $5.3 billion with state, federal, and locally-generated funds.

Education is once again the governor’s number one budget item, receiving nearly two-thirds of the $14.3 billion state budget proposal that Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled Thursday morning. The budget includes the largest increase to WPU spending in the last 25 years.

The 6.25% WPU increase will allot $161 million new dollars to WPU spending, the number one source of funding for public education.  This increase will create new possibilities for local education programs, which will decide locally whether to increase teacher salary, or invest in technology and professional development with new funding.

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The governor’s budget includes a $478 million Rainy Day Fund, which is larger than the balance before the recession.

The budget also calls for $263 million for Corrections, including $10.5 million for recidivism reform, $46 million for prison relocation and $1 million to provide body cameras for state troopers.

To address air quality concerns, the budget contains $20 million to replace old school buses with lower-emission models and $750,000 for research to find innovative solutions to the air challenges posed by the unique topography in Utah.

It also includes $4.6 million to launch the Healthy Utah plan, which would provide access to health care for approximately 95,000 Utahns living in poverty through the private market.

Click here to read Gov. Herbert’s complete budget proposal.