EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

School choice bill coming back in Utah’s 2023 legislative session

Dec 30, 2022, 10:20 AM | Updated: 11:12 am

Two kids are pictured on bikes, a new bill aims to give parents more choices of utah schools...

Kids prepare to ride bikes in front of William Penn Elementary in Millcreek on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. (Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A school choice bill is being resurrected when the legislative session starts mid-January. 

Rep. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, said it would be called Utah Fits All. It allows some public education money to pay for parents’ choice of schools, including private schools.

“Right now, the traditional district school isn’t working for them, a charter school isn’t the right fit. This would allow them to apply for a scholarship that they then could direct that to either a private school, they could direct it to micro-schooling,” Pierucci said.

Critics call it a school voucher program that allows public education money to pay for private schools.

But Pierucci said it’s more than that. “It’s like an HSA where you aren’t just given a check. It has to go to pre-approved expenses, for the purpose of education.”

Critics argue it would just give more money to private schools.

Pierucci said she’s worked to get Gov. Spencer Cox’s support. Cox threatened to veto the bill last year until there was more money to increase public education funding and teacher pay.

“I believe that you can support teachers, students and parents, I don’t think those are mutually exclusive goals,” Pierucci said. “I have worked to where we would be able to give teachers a pay increase while also giving parents additional options for their kids.”

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School choice bill coming back in Utah’s 2023 legislative session