Utah Governor To Veto School Choice Bill Unless His Demands Are Met

It is not surprising that in a turbulent time over public schools, and the way they are managed, a state might consider school choice legislation and that a governor threatens a veto. However, the rationale that Utah’s governor provided for his veto is perhaps the oddest.

Spencer Cox is a Republican who has been Utah governor for about a year. Although he threatened to veto an unpopular school choice bill that was passed in his state, Cox insists that he still supports it. Cox stated that he was an advocate of choice at a press conference this month. “I believe parents should be allowed to use taxpayer funds in other ways.”

H.B. argues that his complaint has nothing to do the actual bill. 331. “I am all in on the vouchers. Cox added that there is still a lot of work to be done before we reach our goal. “With the price of housing, with inflation happening right now, I don’t want to live in a state where teachers can’t buy a home… When teachers are making $60,000 a year to start, I will fully support vouchers.”

The average start salary of Utah teachers currently is $35,700. The state has not seen a substantial increase in funding for education since then, so if the average teacher earns more than 70 percent it would represent a major shift in educational funding. Average Teacher salaries are only $50,000. Utah, with a starting salary of $60,000 would pay more to its teachers than any other state, even though it has a slightly lower standard of living.

H.B. 331 is not a “voucher” program. Instead, like many other programs in the nation, it uses education savings account (ESAs). Parents can also use ESA funds to fund their child’s educational expenses. The state will pay a percentage of what they otherwise would have spent on the education of families based upon their income. Family incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level would be eligible for twice the money the state will spend per student. The multiplier drops from there. The money could be spent by parents on tutoring and outside lessons as well as tuition at a private school.

H.B. It is possible that H.B. 331 may not be the best choice for Utah parents. You might also think that Utah teachers could make more. Despite living at a similar cost to the national median, the Utah average teacher’s salary is $10,000 less than the national average. Cox attempts to connect them both is an ill-advised attempt. Cox should declare if he’s a proponent of school choice and sign it or give reasons why. This will allow him to argue in favor of increasing teacher wages. The seriousness of each issue is undermined if one becomes dependent on the other.