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Lawmaker wants parents to pony up for school supplies

By Andrew Adams | Posted - May 7, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah lawmaker is pushing for a change in current law to require parents to pay for school supplies themselves, or pay a fee.

Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber, has a bill, HJR25, that does just that -- amending a law in the state Constitution that entitles students to a free education.

"It's going to certainly help the teachers who, right now, many times have to provide for these supplies out of their own pockets because the way that the law is interpreted," Powell told KSL Newsradio in a phone interview Friday morning. "They just can't get through all the red tape and bureaucracy to even have the parents help out."

Under the measure, teachers would provide a list of needed supplies to parents, who then could purchase them. It gives latitude to schools, though, to offer parents a fee instead.

"If, in that particular school, maybe the parents or the school community council believes that it would actually be easier than having all the parents go out and finding all the supplies, that they could just pay a fee," Powell said.

There is also a waiver for poor students.

Last session, lawmakers approved half of the $10 million one-time funds for classroom supplies for the next fiscal year.

Powell said his bill represents a way things have already been done in other states, and many parents would be willing to buy the supplies themselves.

One lawmaker, Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, told the Deseret News she doesn't know that the resolution is needed, saying "most kids take supplies in their backpacks with them anyway."

E-mail: aadams@ksl.com

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