Corroon, Herbert spar about education improvements

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The two candidates for Utah governor are sparring about the best ways to make Utah's education system better.

The questions center on the best ways to fund education, and about how to ramp up the results we expect from graduating high school seniors.

Thursday at his monthly KUED news conference, Gov. Gary Herbert recoiled at Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon's criticism of the education system.

I believe we give Peter [Corroon] a dozen donuts all he's going to see are the holes.

–Gov. Gary Herbert

"This year we're seeing 11,000 new students coming into our system," Corroon said. "Without that being funded, we're seeing graduation rates falling, and innovation can only go so far."

Herbert says that even though the state is the lowest funded per pupil, it still has students that achieve highly.

"But in the process, don't distort and make it worse than it is," Herbert said. "I mean, if we give Peter a dozen donuts, all he will see is the holes when it comes to education."

Earlier this week, Corroon unveiled his own education plan.

The governor takes exception to Corroon's statement that limiting tax breaks and business incentives would allow more money for education.

"His belief that we're going to fund some $200 million in efficiencies in state government belies what's going on in the state budget process and the reality of what we're doing in the state government today," Herbert said.

"What I'm talking about is not having long-term business incentives for 20 years or longer," Corroon said. "I'm also talking about providing incentives for businesses that will compete with other businesses in the state of Utah, local businesses."

The two candidates also went at each other over Corroon's statements to make high school graduation requirements more rigorous.

The governor asked, What will be sacrificed to make that happen? Seminary? Art classes?

Corroon, however, says nothing will have to be sacrificed. He says there's plenty of time in the school day to take electives and to meet more rigorous requirements.


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