Members Present: Sen. Howard Stephenson, Co-Chair
Rep. Marda Dillree, Co-Chair
Sen. Karen Hale
Rep. Duane Bourdeaux
Rep. Judy Ann Buffmire
Rep. Tom Hatch
Rep. Brad King
Rep. Karen Morgan
Rep. Glenn L. Way
Members Absent: Sen. Bill Hickman
Sen. John Valentine
Rep. Doug Aagard
Rep. Glenn Donnelson
Rep. James Ferrin
Rep. J. Morgan Philpot
Rep. John Swallow
Staff Present: R. Michael Kjar, Legislative Fiscal Analyst
Jonathan Ball, Legislative Fiscal Analyst
Ben Leishman, Legislative Fiscal Analyst
Patrice Shaffer, Secretary
Public Speakers Present: Ms. Karen Derrick, USBA Leg. Co-Chair, SLC School Board
Mr. Steve Norton, Superintendent, Cache County School District
Mr. Steve Peterson, USSA/USBA
Mr. Kim Burningham, Chairman, Utah State Office of Education
Mr. Steven O. Laing, Superintendent, Utah State Office of Education
Mr. Patrick Ogden, Assoc. Supt., Utah State Office of Education
Mr. Jim Eldredge, UEA
Mr. Chad Harris, Governor's Office
Mr. Rich Kendell, Governor's Office
Mr. Mike Bennett, Superintendent, Iron County School District
Ms. Corey L. Rowley, Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities
Visitor List on File
Committee Co-Chair Stephenson called the meeting to order at 9:25 a.m.
- Utah School Boards Association. Ms. Karen Derrick, Salt Lake City School Board USBA Legislative Co-Chair presented that the Utah School Boards Association's first recommendation would be that Public Education be held harmless from further budget cuts and consider other options. She offered suggestions such as identify fund balances within the state budget, increase the basic tax rate by not allowing float down, reallocate additional highway funds, and delay construction on bonding for capital facilities. If budget cuts are still chosen, Ms. Derrick recommended the following guidelines: provide equity for students in all the districts; minimize student impact; allow flexibility for locally elected school boards, and cut programs that have not yet been implemented. Ms. Derrick mentioned that the Utah State Office of Education's "Public Education Round 4 Budget Cut Scenarios" meets the Utah School Boards Association's recommended criteria. Ms. Derrick provided a copy of the scenarios, as well as handouts explaining per-pupil spending on district administration, and leadership recommendations for FY 03 total cuts. She explained these handouts and also mentioned that the Utah School Boards Association does not recommend consolidation of Utah State Office of Rehabilitation with Workforce Services.
Mr. Steve Norton explained various ways that school districts have used to solve budget reductions. He stressed the need for flexibility for local school boards. Mr. Steve Peterson answered questions from the committee.
- Utah State Office of Education. Mr. Kim Burningham mentioned five points: 1) education is vital to the economic well being of the state; 2) the preference of the USOE is to hold education harmless; 3) USOE recognizes times are difficult and cuts may be necessary; 4) it is important to maintain flexibility in school districts; and 5) stressed the need to seriously look at finding new revenue resources so that decline in education does not continue.
Mr. Steven Laing brought attention to line 4) U-PASS (UBSCT 1 year delay) and other line 4) USOE Miscellaneous Cuts, lines 10-13 and line 15 of the Public Education Round 4 Budget Cut Scenarios. He also recommended that they don't move USOR to Workforce Services.
Mr. Patrick Ogden, USOE, provided a handout explaining the impact of budget cuts on school districts.
Mr. Laing answered questions about how other states are dealing with budget cuts. He mentioned that many are choosing the same approach as Utah and trying to allow flexibility in making cuts.
- Utah Education Association. Mr. Jim Eldredge mentioned that even though he didn't come with specific recommendations, he agrees with the proposals from the Utah School Boards Association. He expressed support for what the committee is trying to do, as well as appreciation for the high level of consideration given to education. Mr. Eldredge responded to questions regarding the increased cost for health insurance and step and lane salary increases.
4. Governor's Office. Mr. Rich Kendell recommended to hold schools harmless. He addressed the $3,000,000 allocated for the high-tech charter high schools and explained the impact cuts would have on a grant provided by the Gates Foundation. Mr. Kendell explained the status of the high schools. He mentioned that they would only need to have $1,500,000 to $2,000,000 of the funding this year.
Mr. Chad Harris recommended that education be held harmless and asked the committee to reexamine the use of sales tax in two areas--the tax used to subsidize roads maintained at the city level, and the subsidizing of water rates with sales tax. Rep. Way asked for clarification on the road maintenance taxes. Rep. King expressed concern about using water development monies. Mr. Harris provided a bulletin to help track changes proposed by the committee.
- Other responses. Mr. Mike Bennett, Iron County School District, explained the effect of cuts on class size and teacher's salaries. He asked that they not cut education. He answered questions on how the teachers in his district made decisions regarding budget cuts. Handout given explaining position of Iron County School District.
Ms. Corey L. Rowley, Legislative Coalition for People with Disabilities, shared her story and provided a position paper from the Coalition. This position indicated that they do not support relocating USOR under the Department of Workforce Services, and provided recommendations for cuts.
Leslie Gertsch from the blind center talked in opposition of relocating USOR under the Department of Workforce Services. She also recommended having a verbal roll call at future meetings. Others speaking against combining USOR under Department of Workforce Services included:
Dennis Platt, Utah Association for Deaf
James Moran, former olympian, Division of Rehabilitation Services
Diane Williams, Utah Independent Living Center
Eileen D. Glather, has multiple sclerosis
Tiby Field, blind-deaf person from New York
Kathy Evans, Self Help for Hard of Hearing in Salt Lake
Rep. Morgan provided a handout on the University of Utah Reading Clinic and asked the committee to carefully consider the impact on children if they choose to cut this program.
Rep. Buffmire took a point of personal privilege to remember Justin Dart who died last week, and mentioned the impact he had as an advocate for people with disabilities.
Rep. Morgan moved to adjourn.
Sen. Stephenson adjourned the meeting at 11:55 a.m.
Minutes reported by Patrice Shaffer, Senate Secretary.
Sen. Howard Stephenson, Co-Chair Rep. Marda Dillree, Co-Chair