Created during the 2008 General Session, the USTAR Centers program was created to provide a financial incentive for school districts and charter schools to adopt programs that result in more efficient use of personnel and capital facilities. Statute outlines several potential benefits to the program. These benefits include: increased compensation for math and science teachers by providing opportunities for an expanded contract year; increased capacity of school buildings by using buildings more hours of the day or for more days in a year; decrease class sizes by expanding the number of instructional opportunities in a year; provide opportunities for earlier high school graduation and college preparation; and additional opportunities for remedial or advanced courses.
Statute outlines a grant program where school districts and charter schools submit proposals on how to implement the program. The State Board of Education will award grants to public schools on a competitive basis. Program participation is voluntary for an individual teacher and voluntary for a charter school or school district.
Formula -- Funding is awarded on a competitive grant basis to school districts and charter schools. Program provisions require that grant monies be used to provide full year teacher contracts, part-time teacher contract extensions, or a combination of both, for math and science teachers. Up to 5 percent of grant funding can be used for math and science field trips, textbooks, and supplies.
During the 2015 General Session, the Legislature appropriated for Fiscal Year 2016, $6,200,000 from all sources for USTAR Centers (Year-Round Math and Science). This is a 0 percent change from Fiscal Year 2015 revised estimated amounts from all sources. The total includes $6,200,000 from the General/Education Funds, a change of 0 percent from revised Fiscal Year 2015 estimates.
In addition to statewide compensation and internal service fund cost increases, the following appropriation adjustments were made during the 2015 General Session:
The following statute governs the USTAR Centers program.
- UCA 53A-17a-159 -- details the goals and potential benefits associated with the program. The statute provides clarification on the distribution of funding, procedures for soliciting proposals, and restrictions on the use of grant monies.
The Legislature intends that the State Board of Education review the Pupil Transportation Allocation Formula and recommend ways to improve the formula to increase efficiency, simplify allocation methodology to school districts, and provide incentives for alternative transportation methods. The Legislature further intends that the State Board of Education report its recommendations to the Education Interim Committee and the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee by October 31, 2015.
HB0002: Item 2
The Legislature intends that the State Board of Education and State Board of Regents provide joint recommendations on how to ensure that each concurrent enrollment course is taught by a qualified instructor, that credits earned by students count towards major and minor degree requirements at state colleges and universities, and that students are advised on the transferability of credits to private and out of state institutions. The Legislature also intends that these recommendations be reported to the Education Interim Committee and the Public Education Appropriations Committee by October 31, 2015.
COBI contains unaudited data as presented to the Legislature by state agencies at the time of publication. For audited financial data see the State of Utah's Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports.