SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Using Lincoln Elementary School as the backdrop Governor Gary Herbert signed ceremonial copies of two education bills which will increase funding for early childhood programs and enhance community partnerships to improve student outcomes.
About $454-million in new monies have already been appropriated by the legislature towards education this year.
“By signing these bills and saying we believe in you, and we’re gonna put some money behind that belief to make sure these education programs continue, and I’m honored to have that opportunity to celebrate with you,” said Governor Gary Herbert to an auditorium full of elementary school students.
This morning the governor put pen to paper and signed the ceremonial copies of Senate Bill 101, the High Quality Preschool Readiness Expansion Program, and Senate Bill 67 the Partnerships for Student Success bills into law.
The bills are meant to help expand early education programs providing parents and students will multiple resources and tools to advance their child’s early education. The second is meant to help expand community partnerships and involvement to give children more resources to help them succeed.
“What we’re saying is we really care about education, we put records amounts of money in education,” said Gov. Herbert.
Just how much money? $11.7-million dollars from state money set aside for low-income families as well as money from the general fund went into helping to fund these two pieces of legislation. The bills were both sponsored by Senator Ann Millner, who has a background in education, being the former president of Weber State University. She says by providing children and parents with more resources and alternatives to their early education, the better their outcomes will be.
“Whether that’s in a public school, whether that’s with a private provider, or with using home based technologies that a parent can use with their child in their home,” she said.
The governor also toured Lincoln Elementary, a Title 1 school offering early education programs. One of the many schools that will benefit.
“It’s very important for us to invest in these early learning programs that’ll help all our children be working at grade level,” said Sen. Millner (R) – District 18.
She says up until 3rd grade children are learning to read, afterwards they should be reading to learn. That can only happen through early education.
One key investment the legislature passed was providing more funds per student in our schools. As well as investing $90-million into the growth seen in Utah schools.
“I appreciate working with the legislature who’ve along with me have made education our number one budget priority,” says Gov. Herbert.
But, Sen. Millner says while they’re making improvements, no doubt, there is still much work to be done. More resources need to be made available for teachers, learning to integrate new technologies into the classrooms, and improving that technology.