Brittany Tichenor-Cox, mother of Isabella “Izzy” Tichenor, second from left, watches Governor Spencer Cox sign HB428, sponsored by Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, left, during a signing ceremony for bills focused on educational issues at Hillcrest Junior High in Murray on Thursday. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)
Estimated reading time: 3-4 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed bills Thursday expanding all-day kindergarten and making menstrual products free in schools, along with several other education bills.
“One of our top priorities has been to improve our state’s education system and prioritize at-risk learners. Today, we were thrilled to highlight 11 bills that help us achieve these goals and will improve the education of all Utah students,” Cox tweeted.
After this year’s legislative session which ended on March 5, Cox called education a “big winner” as lawmakers allocated $200 million to numerous programs – including a 6% increase in the weighted student unit – “which I believe will be the highest ever”, Cox said at the time.
Overall, the state’s education budget has increased by about 9%, including $12 million to expand all-day optional kindergarten and a bill that funds teachers’ paid work hours, “which they’ve wanted for a long time,” Cox said. .
During the bill signing ceremony Thursday at the Capitol, the governor endorsed:
- HB193which is providing $12.2 million in funding for a grant program to increase the availability of full-day kindergarten.
- HB162 requiring local school boards and charter schools to provide period products in all school facilities.
- HB386creating an “innovation” program with $2.5 million in funding to improve learning outcomes in schools,
“Educators know better what works and what doesn’t in the classroom, and this bill creates avenues for them to submit an alternate curriculum and class schedule for approval,” Cox said.
- $64 million to fund additional paid professional hours for teachers HB396.
- SB127 seeks to improve early literacy outcomes by funding programs and implementing assessment measures, among other measures.
“Early literacy is so important to our children – it prepares them for success in school and in life. That’s why SB127, which changes, enhances and aligns strategies to improve early literacy outcomes from kindergarten through 3rd grade, is so crucial,” Cox said. said in the tweet.
- HB346 provides funding of $300,000 for foreign language education.
- To prevent bullying and discrimination at school, HB428 requires the state school board to provide training on these issues.
“It’s so important that students feel safe at school,” the governor tweeted.
“Lovingly referred to as ‘Izzy’s Bill,’ HB428 requires local education agencies to adopt plans for harassment-free and discrimination-free learning and to report data on the demographics of victims of bullying,” Cox said, making reference to a 10-year-old student. in the Davis School District who took her own life late last year after her family said she had been bullied.
- HB230 requires the public school board to create a “repository” of immigrant and foreign exchange student transcripts.
- Below HB302school districts will need to adopt policies to help students learn English as a second language.
- HB30 allows students who are part of tribes to wear tribal badges at high school graduation ceremonies.