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New Board Reed Expresses Opposition to House Bill 215


Newly elected Park City Board member Meredith Reed spoke to the Utah Senate Education Committee on Monday, January 23, expressing opposition to House Bill 215.  The bill “Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education Opportunities” ties a $42m voucher program to increased teacher salaries. The bill was introduced early in the first week of the session in the House Education Committee, where it passed on a vote 12-4 and then proceeded to passage by the full House 52-20.


“This bill is opposed by every professional education association in our state,” shared PCSD Board member Meredith Reed to the overflowing crowd attending the Senate Education Committee meeting, adding that HB215 has little “accountability, oversight, or standards for how public money is spent.”  (Board Member Reed’s comments begin at 101:05.)


As a newly elected PCSD Board member, Reed expressed the responsibility and accountability required to provide the vision for all students to be safe, supported, healthy and engaged - to be able to thrive.  She echoed the frustration shared throughout the state about local board members and other education professionals being left out of helping to shape the bill stating,  “Public dollars are intended for public education.”


With a vote of 7-2, the Senate Education Committee gave a favorable recommendation.  House Bill 215 now moves to the full Senate for consideration.  Expected to pass and be transmitted to Governor Cox for signing, there is still the question if the bill will pass with a large enough majority to preclude a future referendum.


Following the Senate Education meeting, leaders of education organizations addressed a large crowd expressing opposition to HB215.  Like Board Member Reed, leaders called for a separation of compensation and vouchers.  Many spoke in favor of increased salaries for teachers and all other education employees, as well as fundamental disagreement with public dollars going to private entities with little accountability or oversight.   


HB215  is opposed by Utah School Boards Association (USBA), the Utah School Superintendents Association  (USSA), the Utah Association of School Business Officials (UASBO), the Utah School Board of Education (USBE), the Utah Education Association (UEA), the Utah School Employees Association (USEA) and the Utah Parent Teacher Organization (PTA).  


At the press conference, former Park City Business Administrator Todd Hauber spoke as President of UASBO and former Park City High School Government teacher spoke as President of the Utah Education Association.