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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly supported a bill that creates a bonus program for effective teachers in high-poverty schools.
HB212, sponsored by Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City, requires participating school districts to pay half of the cost for $5,000 bonuses available to teachers in high-poverty schools whose students demonstrate academic growth.
Stipends would be available to teachers at the state's poorest schools, where 70 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch, or at least 20 percent of students come from families experiencing intergenerational poverty.
School districts need to provide matching funds so local education authorities "have some skin in the game," Winder said during an earlier committee hearing on the bill.
The bill's Senate sponsor, Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, said the funding — $365,000 for the first year of the initiative — "is a start."
Hillyard said one of the goals of the legislation is to stem high rates of teacher turnover.
Due to minor amendments made to the legislation on the Senate floor, the bill must return to the House for further action.