Emergency federal funding could save some teachers' jobs

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SALT LAKE CITY -- A bill being debated in Congress could save teaching jobs in Utah, if approved. The bill calls for $23 billion to be doled out to 300,000 educators across the country.

White House media officials say if the emergency federal funding is approved, 4,030 teachers in Utah could keep their jobs. State officials say they're not sure of the actual impact if the proposal passes.

A spokesman for the Utah State Office of Education, Mark Peterson, tells the Deseret News he doesn't know how the money would be distributed but getting funding to save teachers statewide for the upcoming school year would be helpful.

School districts that face significant cuts are hopeful. For example, the Davis School District is looking to trim $31 million from its budget. District spokesman Chris Williams tells the Deseret News, "Let's keep our fingers crossed."

President Obama also is calling on Congress to pass another $1 billion measure aimed at saving early childhood education jobs.

In the meantime, parents and students in the Salt Lake Valley are rallying around teachers set to lose their jobs in the coming weeks.

They're rallying in Riverton Thursday afternoon in support of special education teachers who will likely be cut in the Jordan School District to bridge a budget shortfall.

Demonstrators are also against a proposal to cut the pay of remaining special education teachers.

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