Educators relieved legislators held back on budget cuts

Educators relieved legislators held back on budget cuts



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Educators are breathing some sighs of relief after this year's legislative session. They say cutting carnage could have been worse.

In fact, one thing was added to the education budget: a $300,000 dollar performance pay program for elementary school teachers. This after much bigger program was cut.

"It's ongoing money, whereas the $20 million was only one-time funds. So on the one hand, now there's something to build a plan around," said state assistant superintendent Todd Hauber.

Hauber says the budget for the state office of education was cut 20 percent for 2009 and 2010. But overall, education only saw 5.2 percent cuts when there was talk of up to 17 percent.

One-time federal stimulus money filled the hole. "It's delayed stress. We'll make it through 2010," Hauber said. "The 2010 session will have the same stress at the beginning. The one-time money will be used, and we'll have to see what the strategy will be for that year."

Lawmakers say local school districts could decide to cut the year by five days to save money, but Hauber says they would have to clear it through the State Board of Education. The per-pupil funding still stays the same.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

Mary Richards

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