News In Brief
Utah lawmakers are considering a plan to tack a formal fifth term onto the school year that would let students accelerate their educations by taking extra classes in the summer.
Under the bill, now before the full House, students in selected junior high and high schools across the state would be able to design a more flexible schedule, pursue internships, and enroll in college courses, but still attend school 180 days a year as required by state law. Teachers who participated in the proposed pilot program, which would be voluntary, would earn their salaries over a full year rather than nine months.
Jim Wilson, the associate general counsel for the Utah legislature, said sponsors foresee expanding the program across the state if the initial program proves successful.
Idaho Revisits Budget: Before they tackle next year's education budget, Idaho lawmakers are revisiting the budget they passed last year.
Last fall, Gov. Phil Batt ordered a 2 percent holdback in all state agency spending after a slow economy led to lower-than-anticipated tax receipts. For public schools, that amounted to a $13.28 million cut in state support.
But a bill introduced last week in the legislature's joint finance-appropriations committee would offset the shortfall by transferring $9.2 million from a state rainy-day fund and cutting the K-12 appropriation by a little more than $4 million. Most of this cut would in turn be offset by a transfer of $3.1 million in unspent interest from a state education endowment.
The adjustment would leave about $980,000 remaining in the shortfall. To address this, the measure would also eliminate funding for a $1 million pilot school-reform project that had only narrowly evaded the budget ax before.