No talk of budget cuts at conference for principals


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Gov. Huntsman pledged last week that education money would not be touched to help make up for the state's estimated $200-million tax shortfall. But that promise hasn't put all worries to rest.

Money was certainly on the minds of principals at the governor's first-ever leadership conference today, especially with a faltering economy and talk of cutting state budgets.

Tysen Fausett, an assistant principal at Valley Crest Elementary and Copper Hills Elementary schools says, "Money is always on everybody's agenda."

Darrin Johnson, principal of Hillcrest Elementary, says, "It's trying times for everybody. Everyone needs to do their part. But at the same time, I just hope it doesn't affect the children."

No talk of budget cuts at conference for principals

Gov. Huntsman says it won't. In a special session with lawmakers scheduled for this week, Huntsman is expected to close the gap in the tax shortfall by requiring all state agencies to cut their budgets by 2 percent, with the exception of education, which makes up a large part of the state budget.

"He's been very supportive of education," Darrin Johnson says, "so yeah, I do feel confident in him."

At the same time, many principals find themselves hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.

No talk of budget cuts at conference for principals

Vicki Ricketts, prinicipal of Oquirrh Hills Elementary, says, "Things could change because we have the legislature. We can't control all of that."

Oquirrh Hills is a Title 1 school. "I'm an at-risk school, so all the monies we get, we certainly spend," Ricketts says.

Ricketts says she'd lose teachers if the education budget was cut. Other principals say they do what they can with whatever they get.

Fausett says, "At the end of the day, we just move forward. We put those things aside and we do the very best we can with what we have."

Ricketts says, "The bottom line is that we want our children to learn. They're in school to learn. But we need resources to help us do that."

The principals also talked about some specific issues they're dealing with in their schools. The biggest ones include Internet bullying, gangs, drugs, and teaching diversity.

E-mail: corton@ksl.com

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