Hillyard: lawmakers will have tough decisions about funding education

State revenues are up and Utah educators are hoping that will mean a better year after two years of funding cuts. State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, co-chairman of the legislature’s executive appropriations committee, says public education will be the top priority but, in his words, “no amount is ever enough.” On KVNU’s Crosstalk show Tuesday, Hillyard said lawmakers will have to decide whether to try to fund the growth again this year or to fund the WPU–weighted pupil unit. “To show the contrast, the Cache School District is growing,” Hillyard said. “It has a weak property tax base so they were not hurt as much last year as we tried to fund the growth. “Logan, on the other hand, does not have the property tax weakness that Cache has and they were actually losing a few students. So when you fund growth, they obviously take a hit.” He says even though there are fewer students the Logan School District needs more money to pay for increased costs of utilities and in other parts of the budget. Hillyard says his committee figures it will the cost about $45 million just to cover the growth in public education. The State Board of Education has requested $60 million.

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