EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

School choice bill is “limiting” public schools, UEA president says

Jan 26, 2023, 8:30 PM | Updated: Feb 8, 2023, 11:40 am

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The Utah Education Association is asking Gov. Spencer Cox to veto a bill that deals with classroom instruction race, religion and sexual orientation. File Photo.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Education Association president Renee Pinkney says the controversial school choice bill is “weakening” and “limiting” public schools.

Pinkney joins Jeff Caplin’s Afternoon News Thursday to discuss why she and the UEA oppose H.B. 215.

“For decades we (UEA) have opposed vouchers on the principle that the money that is being taken out of … the general funds [or] the income tax funds for education … [is] taking scarce resources away from public education and giving it to private schools,” Pinkey says to Caplin. “That is just weakening our public schools as far as the opportunities that our kids have. And, it is limiting what we can do in public schools.”

Pinkney says that even if money is not being taken directly from public schools, the bill still hurts public education.

“It is $42 million that could be going into public education,” she says. “So, they may not be taking [money] right off the top, but those dollars are taxpayer dollars. And, public money should be for public schools, not private schools.”

To fight the bill, UEA is working with people who have experience in trying to prevent a previous voucher bill from 2007, Pinkney says. She says UEA is exploring its options.

“So groups that [were] part of that fight are reaching out with ideas,” she says. “In that exploration, we’ll find out, you know, what opportunities we do have if they’re viable and if … we are going to engage in them.”

Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News can be heard on weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m.

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School choice bill is “limiting” public schools, UEA president says