UEA board votes to oppose amendment that would alter education funding

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Education Association Board of Directors on Thursday voted unanimously to oppose an upcoming ballot measure that would amend the Utah Constitution and restrict education funding.

SJR10, sponsored by Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, seeks to open state income tax funds — which are currently dedicated for education, children and individuals with disabilities — to also fund “other state needs,” according to the text of the amendment.

“The UEA Board of Directors believes the proposed amendment goes against our values and challenges what we stand for,” Renée Pinkney, Utah Education Association president, said in a letter to association members. “We know public school is where childhood happens. We believe that every child, regardless of race, background, who they are, or where they live, has the right to learn in a welcoming, safe, well-resourced public classroom that fosters a strong sense of belonging where their curiosity and creativity come alive.”

Pinkney told KSL NewsRadio that the board has been in discussion about this amendment for over a year, especially on the language used in the amendment. She said the board was hopeful changes would be made during the legislative session, but since there weren’t any changes, the group is very concerned.

Pinkney said the “other state needs” could be “siphoning” off the funding from public education.

“It’s basically opening the door, and constitutional mandates will no longer be viable,” she said on KSL NewsRadio.

The measure will hit voters’ ballots this November.

The letter went on to criticize the Legislature’s funding of HB215, often referred to as the “school choice” bill. Passed in the 2023 legislative session, the bill provides $8,000 scholarships to qualifying families for private schools and other private education options.

“Imagine what this funding could do to meet the ever-increasing needs of our public school students and educators,” Pinkney said in the letter.

HB215 also gave licensed educators a $6,000 pay raise, though a commonly heard criticism of the bill was focused on the fact that it tied teachers’ pay raises with the private school voucher legislation.

A year earlier, in the 2022 legislative session, lawmakers passed SB211, which changed the name of Utah’s Education Fund to the Income Tax Fund.

“We have yet to realize a fully funded public education system in Utah. The UEA has been protecting the promise of public education for over 150 years, and we don’t intend to compromise our values now,” Pinkney said in the letter.

The board is in discussions on whether it will create a campaign to advocate against the amendment, but for now it is reaching out to all of its members, Pinkney said.

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Logan Stefanich is a reporter with, covering southern Utah communities, education, business and tech news.

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