Utah education news

Is proposed tax increase 1% or 17.5%? Depends on what you count, which could affect $750M ballot initiative

Depending on how Utahns look at the Our Schools Now ballot initiative, their income taxes would go up by seven-eighths of 1 percent, or by 17.5 percent. Both figures are accurate, as Our Schools Now would lift the income tax rate from 5 percent to 5.875 percent — a bump of less than 1 percent. But the practical impact of that change is a 17.5 percent increase in the dollars an income earner owes the state each year. “Seven-eighths of 1 percent, from a marketing perspective, sounds really, reall... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Utah sex ed needs attention, legislators say, but abstinence angle will continue

Utah schools will continue to teach an abstinence-based sexual education curriculum after a bill to allow comprehensive instruction was defeated in committee. Despite several Republican lawmakers saying sex education in Utah needs improvement, the House Education Committee voted 12-2 along party lines to reject HB215, sponsored by Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City. “I’m not ready to go here yet,” said Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns. “But I’m not ready to stop yet because things are broken.” The c...

Bill to give poor school districts extra money passes first Senate vote

A proposal to set aside funding for Utah’s poorest school districts earned early Senate approval on Monday. By a preliminary 20-8 vote, Senators advanced SB80, which would capture one-third of annual education spending increases in order to incrementally raise the funding floor for public schools. Bill sponsor Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, said the bill is necessary to address the disparity in local property tax revenue, which is used by districts to supplement state dollars. School ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Democratic lawmaker says he's 'ashamed' of the 'preposterous' U of U athletics audit

A Utah senator apologized to the University of Utah and its athletic director, Chris Hill, on Monday, while urging his legislative colleagues to do the same. Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, made his comments in response to a legislative audit of the University of Utah athletic department, which found relatively minor financial and inventory infractions amid generally positive budgetary practices. Legislative auditors had conducted their investigation professionally, Dabakis said, but their... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Lawmaker says schools shouldn't get technology funding if they don't spend it correctly

The story of an old man saving stranded starfish on a beach, one by one, got a retelling recently by Sen. Howard Stephenson. The Draper Republican’s version of the tale — made into a parable on Utah education — focuses less on each starfish tossed to safety in the ocean and more on the countless more left dying on the sand. “I’m asking you to discard that warm feeling when you consider the tens of thousands that didn’t get saved,” Stephenson told members of the House Democratic Caucus. “There a...

House panel punts on plan to reward teachers working in low-income schools

The House Education Committee adjourned abruptly Thursday, leaving in limbo a bill that would offer bonus pay to effective teachers willing to work with low-income students. HB212 would pay a bonus of $5,000 — with annual increases up to $10,000 — when one of the state’s top-performing 5 percent of teachers works at one of the 92 most economically-challenged schools. Teacher performance would be based on their median growth percentile, or MGP, a measurement of how much improvement students make ...

Poll: Utahns split on later school start times

Throughout her career as a public school teacher, state Rep. Carol Spackman Moss said the first period of the day was always the hardest. “I didn’t have problems with behavior,” the Holladay Democrat said. “I had problems because kids were falling asleep.” Moss is sponsoring a resolution in this year’s Utah Legislature, encouraging the state’s high schools to make classes start later in the day. The measure highlights the health benefits of additional sleep for children, citing Centers for Dis...

U. details efforts to improve response to sex assault

The University of Utah recently trained its campus police force to understand how trauma can impact the memory and behavior of a student reporting an attack — just one of the ways the school is improving how it responds to sexual assault on campus, U. President David Pershing said in a recent letter. The letter was sent last week to a group of U. students and recent graduates who were concerned about a campuswide email Pershing sent in December. He was providing an update on the investigation i... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

LDS Business College names new president

Bruce Kusch will take the helm of LDS Business College in April, becoming the school’s 13th president. Kusch’s new role — he currently is serving as the school’s chief academic officer — was announced Tuesday by President Dieter Uchtdorf of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “After prayerful consideration, the Board of Trustees has chosen an individual to serve as the new the president of LDS Business College who will continue to build upon the solid foundat... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

As $7M turnaround program wobbles, educators eye lower-cost alternatives to help Utah's struggling schools

West Valley City • After years of low performance, West Lake Junior High School principal Tyler Howe is optimistic that his school is on the rise. Test scores are trending up, he said, and teachers have a renewed drive, thanks in part to coaching from the consulting firm Ed Direction. But Howe said it is still hard to hire and retain teachers at a school that is considered failing by the state. “It’s definitely got a label,” he said. “I think that makes our staffing that much more challenging... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Utah State president concerned with how Trump's immigration order may affect international students and faculty

Delivering a message of inclusiveness and a warning against international travel, the new president of Utah State University sent an email to all students, faculty and staff about President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees on Monday. “We are deeply concerned about the members of our university community who may be impacted by the recent executive order suspending the issuance of visas and other immigration benefits to nationals of seven countries for 90 days,” said President Noelle Coc...

Bill to protect teachers from abusive parents and students clears House committee

When she was a teacher, Rep. Marie Poulson said Monday, there was a time when she had to chase a student down a hall after he stole her purse. The student’s pockets were stuffed with her cash and credit cards, Poulson said, but after the chase ended, she still had to deal with the child’s family. “I turned him in and then received abusive phone calls from his parents the rest of the year,” Poulson, D-Salt Lake City, said. Poulson was speaking in favor of a bill that would require school distr...

National advocate wary as Utah advocates propose increasing confidentiality for student sex assault victims

Some sexual assault victims on college campuses choose not to report to their schools, advocate Turner Bitton said, for fear that their name and other identifying information will be shared publicly. In fact, 21 percent of about 1,500 victims polled by the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault — of which Bitton is the executive director — said they did not report “due to concerns of confidentiality.” This legislative session, Bitton hopes to remove that barrier with a measure sponsored by Rep. A...

Museum's DinoFest2017 weekend to highlight Utah fossil fame

Paleontologist Lindsay Zanno spends much of her summer in remote southern Utah deserts, using brushes, picks, trowels and sometimes jack hammers to liberate 90-million-year-old bones from ancient sediments in a quest to identify new species of gigantic extinct reptiles and determine how they lived. Utah is justly famous for dinosaur bones from various geological eras, including those familiar characters of the Jurassic, but Zanno is most interested in species unknown to science, many found in Ut... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Senator Dabakis: Tax the rich to fund schools

The Our Schools Now ballot initiative is working to lift Utah’s income tax rate from 5 percent to 5.875 percent, a shift that would raise $750 million for public education. But one lawmaker says the problem isn’t that the tax rate is too low, the problem is that it is too flat. Before asking all Utahns to pay a higher rate, Salt Lake City Democratic Sen. Jim Dabakis said, the state should turn to its wealthy citizens to fund schools. “That great sucking sound you heard is money flying out of ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

New USU campaign urges bystanders to step in and prevent sex assault

Utah State University is asking students to intervene to prevent sexual assault and support victims. Starting Jan. 30, students will be asked to sign a pledge to that effect — either in person or online — as part of stepped-up efforts to raise awareness on the issue. “By involving students as engaged bystanders, we can create an environment in which sexual assault is intolerable and survivors are supported by everyone,” USU President Noelle Cockett said Tuesday in a news release. In conjunction... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Most Utahns support tax hike that would raise $750 million for schools, poll shows

Utahns won’t vote on a proposed income tax increase to fund schools until 2018 — if ever — but a new poll suggests organizers of the Our Schools Now ballot initiative are starting out in the lead. A recent Salt Lake Tribune-Hinckley Institute of Politics survey of 605 registered voters found 55 percent in favor of the measure, which would raise $750 million for public schools by bumping Utah’s income tax rate up from 5 percent to 5.875 percent. The initiative was opposed by 41 percent of respon...

Utah universities to track student sexual misconduct across campuses, boost campus surveys

A student could commit sexual misconduct at more than one Utah university without the schools spotting a pattern — because they weren’t required to share information. Some Utah universities have asked students to evaluate campus safety and attitudes in climate surveys, but others haven’t. On Friday, the Utah Board of Regents approved a policy meant to standardize and strengthen how the state’s colleges and universities address campus sexual assault, requiring stepped-up training, information-sha...

App rewards students for ignoring their phones

Distracted students are nothing new, according to West High School Assistant Principal Christine Pittam. But distractions evolve over time, she said, shifting from Walkmans to MP3 players, from analog to digital. “It used to be that kids would pass notes,” Pittam said. “Now it’s cellphones. They’re texting.” Reactions from educators have evolved as well. Last year, a teacher at West High might have confiscated a student’s smartphone, Pittam said. But, as of last week, the school is promoting...

Crowd unanimously asks Utah Board of Education to repeal student-athlete transfer rule

Robert McDaniel said Thursday that when he became principal of Cyprus High School three years ago, he inherited a school with low test scores, poor attendance and below-average graduation rates. It later dawned on him, McDaniel said, that most of his faculty, students and parents didn’t care about hats. “I started focusing on what Cyprus High School should have been focusing on,” he said, “preparing our students for college and career opportunities.” McDaniel’s comments were directed toward the ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>