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Legislature earmarks funding for education

The public education budget is the largest expenditure category in the state budget, and in that way things were no different during this years legislative session.

Public school enrollment is estimated to reach 564,500 this fall, an increase of 13,500 over fall 2008. The majority of new growth, 7,800 students, will likely occur in Utah's 73 charter schools. In addition to the Minimum School Program and School Building Program, the budget includes funding for state wide education support agencies.

Legislators made ongoing reductions in the public education budget for FY 2009 and 2010, and partially mitigated these reductions with one-time monies. The total state-fund budget in FY 2010 is over $2.2 billion. Legislators reduced the ongoing state-funds for education by approximately 13 percent. A portion of this reduction is back-filled on a one-time basis with state funds and federal economic stimulus monies.

Here are the major categories of funding for public education.

•Student Enrollment Growth: $53.2 million. Funds the impact of new students in the basic school program (WPUs), charter school local replacement and administrative costs, and the voted and board leeway programs

•Elimination of program funding: $102 million. Includes career and technology education district set-aside, local discretionary block grant and quality teaching block grant.

•Reduction in funding for special populations: $10 million. Approximately a 10 percent reduction to programs for at-risk students, accelerated students, adult education, concurrent enrollment, and approximately a 20 percent reduction to the interventions for student success block grant.

•Social security and retirement program: $335 million. Provides a reduction to districts and charters distributed on a WPU basis.Social security and retirement costs for employees must still be met (total includes $73.1 million reduction from the 2008 Legislative Special Session). Also provides $282.7 million in one-time state funds and federal stimulus monies dedicated for public education offset the total reduction in fiscal year 2010

•Capital outlay foundation program: $3.9 million.

The program reduces the state funding that supports school building construction in districts that qualify for the monies.

•Utah schools for the deaf and the blind: $1 million.

The money allocated by the 2009 Utah Legislature is earmarked to fund the state's instructional materials accessibility center and the school's educator base along with step and lane salary increases.

Also, $1.9 million in state revenues will go to restructure the administration, representing a reduction of approximately 25 FTE; elimination of extended-year program; and decrease the radius of student pick-up for the transportation program.

•Fine arts outreach: $402,800.

The state budget line item will require a reduction in grants to professional art organizations to provide services in the public schools along with the elimination of funding for the RFP program

•Science outreach efforts: $380,000.

The allocation requires the reduction in outreach grants awarded to professional science organizations to provide services in the schools and the elimination of funding for the RFP program

•Utah Office of Education: $5.4 million.

The money earmarked for the office of education will require the reduction of approximately 20 FTE, professional development opportunities for USOE staff and districts/charter staff and assessment expenditures (UBSCT forms & development, UTIPS, trainings, alignment study, mentor grants, etc.).

•USOE initiative programs: $1.2 million.

The initiative programs represent a new budget line item created to better track initiative programs.

Major reductions made by state legislators include up-start at $700,000, Head-Start at $100,000, ASSERT at $30,700, sound beginnings at $45,000, Carson Smith scholarships at $187,500 and Pro-Start at $71,300.

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