Vernon Elementary School

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Our Schools Now! Our Kids' Future

 

Last week, Utah’s most successful business leaders, along with highly accomplished classroom teachers, filed the Teacher and Student Success Act, kicking off the Our Schools Now ballot initiative.

 

Between now and November 2018, you'll hear a lot about Our Schools Now. It's important to be informed and help others know the facts, too.

So here are TEN things you NEED to know about the Act:

  1. OUR SCHOOLS NOW BRINGS SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT TO UTAH TEACHERS AND STUDENTS – The initiative generates $700 million each year – nearly $1,000 per Utah school student. That puts back over half of the $1.2 billion schools lose every year from past tax cuts – cuts that make Utah last in the nation in per pupil spending.
  2. EMPHASIS ON ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS – 85 percent will be invested in K-12 education, leaving the remaining 15 percent for Utah public colleges, universities, and technical colleges. 
  3. INVESTMENT IS BASED ON ENROLLMENT – An elementary school in St. George with 400 students would receive $400,000 annually, while high school in Logan with 1,000 students would receive $1,000,000 annually. 
  4. INVESTMENT FLOWS TO THE CLASSROOM – bypassing state and district administration expenses. Instead of a “one-size-fits-all” approach, Our Schools Now allows each school and local district to decide how best to invest in classrooms to improve student achievement.
  5. LOCAL DISTRICT OVERSIGHT – Each district creates a framework, setting investment guidelines for their schools.
  6. PRINCIPALS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR INVESTING– Each school principal will create a Teacher and Student Success Plan indicating how they will invest new funding to improve student achievement. Principals work with teachers, parents, administrators and students in developing their school’s plan.
  7. WHERE MONEY CAN AND CANNOT BE INVESTED – Investment can be used for teacher salaries, early learning, technology, professional development, class size reduction, additional teachers, counselors, tutors and specialists, or any other purpose to improve student performance. Funding cannot be used to increase state or district administration expenses or for construction costs.
  8. TRANSPARENCY IS MANDATORY – Each school must receive approval of their Teacher and Student Success Plan in an open- meeting of the local school board. Each plan will be posted on the school website, and each district will publish an annual report detailing the expenditures and results.
  9. INVESTMENT IS INCREMENTAL – To allow for careful planning, new investment will be phased-in incrementally over 3 years.
  10. And finally, taxes… While nobody likes taxes, the value of education makes education a worthwhile investment. Our Schools Now increases the income tax by 1⁄2 percent and the sales tax by 1⁄2 percent over three years so that Utah students and teachers have the resources to be successful.