The Utah Legislature fully funded the additional 10,300 students anticipated to arrive in the state’s public schools next year and added a 2.5 percent increase in the weighted-pupil unit (WPU), money local school districts and charter schools can allot to best meet their individual needs.
“This budget allows Utah public schools to move forward preparing our students for the future,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Martell Menlove. “While it does not meet all of Utah’s needs, we are grateful that the two biggest budget Board requests – growth and a 2.5 percent increase in the WPU, together totaling more than $127 million – were cleared.”
The Utah State Board of Education sought a 2.7 percent increase in the WPU in addition to funding for growth. The WPU accounts for roughly half of the state’s education funding to schools. It is allotted based on student population. The remaining funding is designated by the legislature for specific purposes, for example dual immersion schools or educator professional development.
Among the other measures approved by the legislature, Menlove noted additional funding for:
- Early interventions for Utah preschool students through Rep. Hughes’ readiness initiative and the UPSTART program.
- Utah’s growing dual immersion program.
- The STEM Action Center through Rep. Peterson’s efforts to help students become more proficient in science, math, and technology.
- After school programs to help poor children overcome the income-achievement gap, thanks to the efforts of Sen. Reid.
- Financial and economic literacy, thanks to the efforts of Sen. Jones
- Continuation of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Elementary Arts Learning Programs.
- Plans for new facilities in Salt Lake County for deaf and blind students.