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UEA opposes plan for budget cuts, shorter school year

UEA opposes plan for budget cuts, shorter school year



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The state's largest teachers' union is upset that lawmakers are talking about cutting the school year and education dollars.

The Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee recommended cutting 18 percent of the education budget, depending on how bad 2010's numbers look when they are released next week. It also recommends letting school districts decide whether to basically cut a week off the school year to save millions of dollars.

Each day cut from the school year would save about $12.5 million.

Utah Education Association President Kim Campbell says it's time to use bonding, stimulus dollars and the state's rainy day fund. "We don't know how long this is going to last, but we should look at part of that because this is a rainy day," she said.

State educators will meet today to further discuss what could be deep cuts to education next year. Campbell says they should be talking about ways to save education funding. "In Utah we are already the leanest system in the nation. Any cuts won't be cutting any fat; they will be going right to the bone," she said.

Ethel Taylor, the grandparent of a West High School student, told KSL the possibility of chopping school days is the wrong way to go. "I think children need the education. I think legislation needs to upgrade the teachers' pay, and children don't need less school, they need more help in school to get ahead in life," she said.

The committee says cutting school days basically means an unpaid furlough for teachers, but it also means saving some programs over the long run. Committee members also say other cuts would mean bigger class sizes and less money for teachers.

The latest revenue estimates are expected on Tuesday.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

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Mary Richards

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