Utah education news

What happens to Utah schools when the district next door can pay its teachers more?

Logan City School Superintendent Frank Schofield is sweating, and not because of the summer heat. His district’s board recently approved a $2,000 increase in salary for first-year teachers — boosting it to $37,643 — and a corresponding 4.2 percent raise for veteran educators. But Logan is surrounded on all sides by the Cache County School District, which adopted a salary schedule that pays a beginning teacher more than $40,000. “We’re perspiring,” Schofield said. “We’re not drenched, but we’ve g...

Dixie State becomes fourth Utah school under federal investigation for sexual misconduct allegations

The federal government is investigating Dixie State University for allegedly mishandling graduate Victoria Willard’s sexual harassment complaint — making it the fourth Utah school to find itself under scrutiny for potential Title IX violations. Willard, who graduated last year with an art degree, says she faced gender-based discrimination in the form of lewd comments and unwanted sexual touching from faculty for about a year beginning in 2014. But when she made a report in January 2016 to the s... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

BYU announces all campuses will now give Honor Code amnesty and ‘leniency’ to students who report sexual assaults

Brigham Young University announced Friday it has formally adopted an amnesty policy for victims or witnesses of sexual assault, a move it had pledged to make last year after the school came under fire for practices that some said discouraged students from reporting abuse. Going forward, students who are victims or witnesses will not be referred to the private school’s Honor Code Office, and will “not be disciplined by the university for any related honor code violation occurring at or near the t...

Struggling West Valley City charter school for teen moms shut down by Utah board

A charter school geared toward young mothers was forced to shut down Tuesday, pending appeal, after years of stagnant enrollment, financial pressures and low academic performance. Members of the State Charter School Board voted unanimously to terminate the charter of Kairos Academy in West Valley City, which opened in 2014 and has held a probationary status since March 2015. Board member Michelle Smith said Kairos has shown a “dramatic inability” to meet the terms of its contract with the stat...

Audit dings Utah Charter School Board for improper use of state startup funds

A state start-up grant was improperly awarded to Athlos Academy before the Herriman charter school was formally approved for operation, according to a report released Tuesday by the Utah State Auditor. The State Charter School Board approved a $124,100 grant for Athlos Academy in July of 2015, the report states, three months after the Utah Board of Education voted to deny Athlos’ application to open a school. Athlos Academy’s application was later approved by the state school board in September...

Should Utah charter schools be allowed to seize land?

When construction began on a new American Preparatory Academy in January, the charter school lacked required permits from the Utah Board of Education, according to newly obtained school board emails. The project timeline and American Prep’s ongoing and unprecedented quest to seize private land through eminent domain drew sharp critiques from some school board members, expressed in email chains during March and April with subject lines like “APA train wreck in Draper.” Beyond the plight of a sin...

Who are the 24 people looking for the next U. president? Here’s the list

Candidates to replace David Pershing as president of the University of Utah will be screened by a 24-member search committee, Utah’s Board of Regents announced Thursday. The panel includes four members of the Board of Regents, four members of the U. Board of Trustees, 12 U. employees, and four community and alumni representatives. “The selection of this committee has been thoughtful and deliberate, with each member having a significant connection to the institution and a strong interest in th... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

University of Utah will require all students to be trained in sex-assault awareness

Mandatory assault prevention training, increased lighting on campus, additional support faculty and a comprehensive website are all part of a roughly $390,000 new plan to boost safety at the University of Utah. The strategy, based on the recommendations of a campus safety task force, was presented to members of the U. Board of Trustees Wednesday and approved by U. President David Pershing. It calls for $388,000 to be spent on safety enhancements, including an online sexual assault awareness co...

Utah Board of Education orders review of student fees

State school board members have voted to launch an audit of the fees Utah public schools collect from students. During their June 2 meeting, board members discussed reports made by staff and through a hotline regarding costly fees for activities and course materials, inconsistent application of fee waivers for low-income families, and allegations of students being singled out or otherwise humiliated for failing to pay fees or getting waivers. The board voted unanimously in favor of an audit, w... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Refugees in Utah celebrate graduation years after escaping violence at home

For the first 16 years of Eric Mugisha’s life, he lived in a refugee camp in Rwanda. Mugisha was born there, after his parents and grandparents fled their home country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in wake of mass genocide and political unrest. Now, he’s graduating from high school in Utah and has dreams of furthering his education and getting a good job. As he joked and played with friends at Salt Lake City’s Jordan Park on Friday night, he looked like a typical American teenager, don... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Utah charter school accused of dysfunction, employee misconduct is off probation

Vineyard’s Franklin Discovery Academy will continue operating after the charter school was lifted from probation and placed on warning status Thursday. The move by the State Charter School board comes four months after allegations surfaced that a student had been targeted for a sexual relationship by a former employee and the firing of an administrator for allegedly failing to act on those claims. Utah Board of Education staff also visited the school and reported a dysfunctional academic environ...

Finding new University of Utah president could take up to a year, state’s top higher-education official says

Higher Education Commissioner Dave Buhler said he doesn’t believe the recent upheaval at the University of Utah will deter people from applying to be the school’s new president. The U. “is a great institution that has many positive things,” Buhler said Wednesday at a meeting with the Salt Lake Tribune’s editorial board. “I’m sure there will be questions raised … [but] I’m not worried at all that it’ll be hard to attract good candidates.” Last month, the Board of Regents began what Buhler said wi... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Our Schools Now launches $700 million Utah tax initiative

The Our Schools Now campaign to boost education funding through tax increases got formally underway on Tuesday ­— with several notable departures from the group’s original plans. First, backers said the 2018 ballot initiative would seek to raise both sales and income taxes by 0.5 percent, a shift from the income-tax focus telegraphed by Utah business leaders in November. Second, tax adjustments under the measure would be phased in over three years, Education First chairman Bob Marquardt said, ...

First-generation Orem high school grad known for family loyalty

Orem • A daughter of Mexican immigrants is on her way to becoming her family’s first college student after graduating high school in Orem while also juggling caregiver duties for her younger siblings. It is not uncommon for Vanessa Ayala to put her family first, the Daily Herald (http://bit.ly/2qQdZ1R ) reported. Throughout high school, the 18-year-old said she has constantly turned down invitations to hang out with friends or school events to take care of her younger siblings, ages 9 and 6 mont... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Most Utah college students work while attending classes; graduation rates a concern

A new study says that about two-thirds of all Utah students work during their college careers, a trend education experts say highlights the state’s prolonged graduation rates. Even though Utah’s college tuition rates are among the nation’s most affordable, the Beehive State had the third highest rate of college students who worked at least 27 weeks per year, the study found. Only Alaska and Minnesota had higher college work rates, at 72.9 percent and 66.9 percent, respectively. In 2016, slightly...

Utah governor tells state school board to ‘own’ Common Core education standards

Gov. Gary Herbert said Friday that he continues to receive calls and letters complaining about the Common Core State Standards despite encouraging the Utah Board of Education to move beyond the controversial grade-level benchmarks last year. Those complaints typically lack specificity, Herbert said, and often lump unrelated areas of academic concern under the umbrella of Common Core, which outline the minimum math and English skills students are expected to master each year. Herbert said beyond ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Park City School District offers new teachers $50K starting pay, state's highest

Park City School District appeared to cement its status as Utah’s highest-paying school district on Wednesday with the approval of a entry-level pay rate of more than $50,000. Public school teachers in Park City will see across-the-board raises of $7,000 as the district lifts its starting salary from $43,700 to $50,700 plus benefits. Wednesday’s announcement follows weeks of jockeying among school districts across the state as administrators tapped into increased state funding, budget reserves a... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Former Dixie State student says school mishandled her report of harassment, discrimination

Former student Victoria Willard says faculty members in Dixie State University’s art department made sexual comments to her and in class that made her feel uncomfortable and, at times, unsafe. Describing remarks made over about a year, beginning in 2014, Willard alleges that one faculty member graphically described to her class a dream in which he was “sexually intimate” with clay. Another told her in a text message that he wanted to touch her husband’s “heinie” because it was “so hot,” she sai... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Ceremony honors 241 who donated bodies for U. medical studies

Christie Evans and her mother, Norma Kjelstrom, made a pact in the 1970s to donate their bodies to the University of Utah for medical study. Their decision became an inside joke for the mother-daughter duo, Evans said. “We prayed we’d both live long and become old ladies,” she said Friday. “So instead of donating our bodies for parts and organs, we figured they’d only want us for medical research since we were going to live so long.” Kjelstrom died Dec. 7 at age 90 — holding up her end of the ...

Utah lawmaker takes aim at campus free-speech rules

College and university policies aimed at promoting civility are overly subjective and could inappropriately limit free speech, a Utah lawmaker told colleagues on Thursday. National news is full of “campus craziness” stories, Rep. Kim Coleman said, the result of recent trends in higher education that attempt to tamp down insulting, offensive or alternative viewpoints. “We have campus explosions all over this country,” Coleman, R-West Jordan, said. “Both students who want to shut down speech and... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>