Dear Utah legislators,
As you are no doubt aware, Gov. Herbert recently vetoed a line item in S.B. 2 Public Education Budget Amendments that would have provided funding to the K-3 Early Intervention Reading Program. I am writing to encourage you to vote to override Gov. Herbert's veto of this funding.
There is abundant research demonstrating that children who fail to develop reading proficiency by third grade struggle with literacy throughout their lives. Poor reading proficiency leads to higher dropout rates and limited economic opportunity. It creates barriers to students understanding civic issues and participating as informed citizens in our critical democratic processes. It is even associated with higher incidence of future criminal behavior. My wife and I feel very strongly that K-3 literacy efforts are among the most important things we can do to put children on a path to success throughout their lives. We have participated in literacy efforts through the United Way focused on K-3 literacy. We also believe the state should support this important cause.
Without the funding Gov. Herbert has vetoed, 22,000 Utah children will lack access to software tools that have proven effective for them. According to a Utah State Office of Education study of the program in question, significant positive results were achieved in first grade and also many positive results were seen in second grade. The results of this study were presented to the Education Committee last fall, and to the Public Education Appropriations Committee less than three months ago. It was on the basis of this data that the House and Senate approved the funding.
The Governor's veto was based on erroneous information, and made without discussing his concerns with education leaders nor with the legislators who had so carefully considered the USOE study before voting to pass this funding bill. Please help Utah children get the personalized reading help they need and send a message to Gov. Herbert that discussions with appropriate stakeholders need to take place before he makes veto decisions. Vote to override the Governor's veto of funding for the K-3 Early Intervention Reading Program.