A majority of Utahns agree that the amount spent per pupil in Utah schools is too little. This year, the legislature is decreasing K-12 spending again. The biggest issue here? There is money that could increase Utah’s weighted pupil unit, also called WPU, which determines the amount schools receive for students.
When Our Schools Now was negotiating with the legislature in 2018, money was set aside as a match should the initiative pass. When it didn’t, the money was left in a Teacher and Student Success Act (TSSA) account, waiting for allocation. Even people who voted no on the initiative did so primarily out of fear that funding would not reach students.
Instead, Senator Ann Millner’s SB 149 proposes to use TSSA funds in a convoluted way and one that severely undermines the voices of School Community Councils (SCCs), bodies defined by state statute and one of the only mechanisms to give parents and grandparents some say in school funding decisions.
SB 149 requires SCCs to instead use the plan of a single principal to allocate LAND Trust funds that they are responsible for each year. This will decrease the voice of parents and families in making funding choices at their own school and further drive us into assessment models that do not value much what Utah families do: the arts, physical education, creative and engaged opportunities to learn through play, and more.