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Legislative bill proposed to add transparency to charter school funding

By Mary Richards | Posted - Jan 28th, 2013 @ 1:20pm



SALT LAKE CITY — The first day of the Legislative Session on Utah's Capitol Hill began Monday. One of the bills being introduced would add taxes to support local charter schools.

Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, has sponsored the bill to increase funding for charter schools. He said that even though the number of charter schools in Utah is growing, many people still don't quite understand what they are or how they are funded.

"Charters are becoming a bigger part of our public education picture in Utah," Powell said.

Powell said that less than 10 percent of Utah students attend one of the 85 charter schools in the state, but that number is rapidly increasing. There is support on Capitol Hill for charter schools, he added, but they want to make sure to fund them in a way as not to take away from public school districts.

The bill that Powell is proposing to the legislature would add a line to individual's property tax notice to show how much money is going to any charter school in that area. Currently, the tax notice lists the amount of money that funds the school district, but Powell would like to see more transparency.

The portion that Powell is interested in adding to the legislative bill states:

"The notice a treasurer is required to furnish to a taxpayer shall state the amount of property taxes imposed on the taxpayer that represents revenue distributed to charter schools."

Powell also pointed out that the amount of taxes going to the charter schools would be a very small amount.

"The number that's listed on there for charter schools on there under my bill might only be five or ten dollars," Powell said.

Powell said lawmakers will continue to evaluate and assess the charter schools before the bill is passed.

Contributing: Faith Heaton Jolley

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