Education Is Highest Legislative Priority
by Senator Aaron Osmond
February 21, 2012
The education of Utah’s children is a priority to the legislature not only in terms of the budget (over 50% of the budget goes to public education and an additional 10% goes to higher education) but in time allocation as well.
Of all the categories covered by legislative drafting teams, one and in a few cases two attorneys handle the work load. But, the education team has three full-time attorneys working constantly to keep up with the heavy load of bills concerning education.
This year there were 1152 bill requests filed. Of those, 147 dealt with education. Health care came in second with 98 bills drafted. That puts education issues a full third higher than any other concern in the legislature.
Additionally, there are two full appropriations committees dedicated exclusively to education funding concerns. All other appropriations committees, with the exception of social services, combine the categories to which they apportion funds.
Take a look. Here is a list of all the bills that have been drafted or requested concerning education.
Some of the bills do not have content yet, and several have not been given their fiscal note (a fiscal note is given to each bill telling how much the bill, if enacted, will cost or save the state). Of those who do have a fiscal note, the bill with the highest expenditure amount (besides the actual education budget bill) is SB31 with a price tag of $30,500,000 to the state over the next 2 years. And so far, SB10 is the education bill that will save the state the most money if it is implemented.
The education of Utah’s children is the cornerstone of our success. Recognizing that, the legislature as a whole is constantly searching for innovative solutions, better standards, assessments, and allocation accountability tools that will help solve our unique challenges and help Utah children thrive.