Education

Salt Lake City residents will see an increase in their property taxes next year to help pay for area public schools. The Salt Lake City School Board approved the hike on Tuesday, saying the additional revenues will fill a gap in the statewide education budget lawmakers passed this year. 

Despite a 2 percent increase in per pupil spending by the state for the 2013-2014 school year, members of the Salt Lake City School Board say it’s not enough to pay the bills.

File: S.J. Quinney College of Law

Officials and alumni from the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law celebrated the groundbreaking of the new building on the southwest corner of the campus Tuesday morning. Dignitaries who spoke on the occasion included University President David Pershing and Hiram Chodosh, the Dean of the Law College. Chodosh says when they started this centennial project 7 years ago many close friends questioned whether he was being realistic about its completion at such an economically challenging time. 

http://www.naperville-lib.org/

The Salt Lake City Public Library named an Illinois native John Spears as its new executive director on Thursday. The selection follows a year-long, nationwide recruitment process that began after the library’s former executive director stepped down. 

Thirty-nine-year-old John Spears comes to Salt Lake City after leading a public library system in the Chicago suburb of Naperville for about two years. Library Board President Kevin Werner says he was looking for an effective collaborator, communicator and manager who can think strategically about the future.

File: Alma Allred

The electric shuttle bus project that would move through the middle of the University of Utah campus is another step closer to reality following a public open house Thursday on campus. Alma Allred, the director of the University’s Commuter Services says this shuttle will cut the commute time from the South Campus TRAX station to the north side of campus to 7 minutes, down from a maximum of 25 minutes. He says a major portion of the students come through that station.

Rowland Hall Breaks Ground for Athletic Fields

May 30, 2013
Dan Bammes

  A crowd cheered Wednesday as volunteer Rin Harris started up a bulldozer to break ground for new athletic fields for Rowland Hall - St. Mark's School in Salt Lake City.  It took years of work and an act of Congress for the school to buy the 13-acre property between Guardsman Way and the Mount Olivet cemetery.  The initial plan calls for soccer fields and restrooms that will be used by both the younger students who go to school next door and older students who currently attend classes down the hill on Lincoln Street.

Utah philanthropist and arts education advocate Beverley Taylor Sorenson has died at the age of 89. Beverley and her late husband James LeVoy Sorenson devoted millions of dollars to cultural, educational, and scientific projects in the state.

The Salt Lake City School Board discussed the possibility of a property tax increase last night. District officials say a 3.47 percent increase is needed to sustain current programs and provide a salary increase for teachers. 

The property tax increase amounts to an additional $12.65 a year for a taxpayer who owns a $100,000 home. 

Governor Gary Herbert ceremonially signed a package of student safety bills this morning at Cyprus High School in Magna. He also spoke to students about preventing suicide among kids in Utah. 

The new laws are aimed at preventing youth suicide, bullying and teen traffic accidents caused by distracted driving. But the occasion was mostly focused on suicide, which according to the Utah Department of Health is the second leading cause of death among Utah youth and young adults.

Utah State Office of Education

Delegates to the Utah Republican Party Convention will consider a resolution this weekend calling for the state's withdrawal from the Common Core academic standards. The resolution comes on the heels of the Republican National Committee’s decision to take a stand against the initiative as well. But education officials say the statements within the resolution are “less-than-accurate”.

A new charter school in Utah wants to equip students in kindergarten through ninth grade with a solid foundation in business.

Students' daily lessons are peppered with concepts like sales and marketing, finance and entrepreneurship, says first-grade teacher Tammy Hill. "And that plays into leadership and improved math skills. And finance plays into every part of their lives."

The exhibit called Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Ancient Times is coming to The Leonardo in Salt Lake City this November. In making the announcement Wednesday, the museum’s director Alexandra Hesse  says it’s the largest collection of ancient artifacts ever displayed outside of Israel. She says Brigham Young University as well as the city’s Interfaith Roundtable will be adding expertise and dialogue to the exhibit.

Bob Nelson

As the National Day of Silence approaches this Friday the 19th, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center is honoring allies who reach out to people who are marginalized to give mutual respect and inclusion. Kai Martinez is the director of the center located on the campus of the University of Utah. He says Ally Awareness Week puts the focus on the support system.

Bob Nelson

University of Utah College of Pharmacy today dedicated the L.S. Skaggs Pharmacy Institute. The Dean of the school, Dr. Chris Ireland, says the 150-thousand square foot expansion honors Sam Skaggs by striving to be the top pharmacy school in the nation.

“My message is really a very simple one and that’s that without Sam’s vision and Sam’s generosity, says Ireland, the College of Pharmacy at the University of Utah as we know it today, would not exist.” Utah Senator Evan Vickers of Cedar City is a graduate of the U’s School of Pharmacy. He recalled a lesson his father taught him.

The Navajo Nation now has the authority to access the assessment data of Navajo students throughout Utah.  Navajo representatives joined state education officials this morning to sign a memorandum of understanding that will help the two entities cooperate in sharing the data. 

For years federal privacy laws barred Navajo Nation education officials from accessing student-specific achievement data because it wasn’t considered a state agency. But recent changes to the law have made tribal education agencies eligible.  

The Utah State Office of Education is seeking the Attorney General’s opinion on what type of student data should be published. The board is asking the Attorney General to reconcile two state statutes they say cause the confusion. But not everyone believes a conflict exists.

Some argue classroom-level testing data allows the public to see how teachers perform. While others say the numbers could be read out of context. 

The Utah board of regents today approved some of the lowest tuition increases in a decade. 

Bob Nelson

The Utah Foundation’s annual meeting Thursday deals with two traditionally conflicting issues facing Utahns, education and transportation. The foundation organizes the Utah Priorities Project along with the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. Stephen Kroes , the president of the Utah Foundation says conflicts between education and transportation going forward need to end.

School District Will Sell Granite High School

Mar 19, 2013
Granite School District

  A plan to turn the old Granite High School into a movie studio has fallen through and the property could now be sold to a private buyer.  

Originally, the city of South Salt Lake hoped to buy the 27-acre Granite High School property and renovate its historic buildings.  But, two years ago, voters rejected a $25 million bond issue needed to do that by just nine votes.

Democratic State Lawmakers say they’re pleased the legislature passed a budget that fully funded growth in enrollment and boosted per-pupil spending but Utah residents are ready to invest more in public schools.

The final budget provides additional funding for roughly 13,000 new students and increases per pupil spending by 2 percent; enough to help school districts pay for the increased cost of employee benefits, but not enough for teacher pay raises. Lawmakers also appropriated ongoing money for extended-day kindergarten and dual language programs.

Every year thousands of Utahns wonder how they’re going to pay for college. Whether they’re high school seniors, returning members of the military or single moms and dads looking for a new opportunity, the financial obligations that come with a college degree are usually the biggest obstacle. KUER explores the unique struggles of Utah students to overcome the escalating cost of college. It’s part of our look this week at The Future of Higher Education.

Brian Grimmett / KUER

A controversial bill that would help create preschool programs for at-risk children failed in the Utah Senate today.

Bob Nelson

A bill that would require schools to notify the parents of children who are being bullied or who have threatened suicide has passed out of the Utah Senate today. Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake says SB184 is aimed at helping parents share responsibility with the schools and allow them to be more engaged in what happens with their children.

Bob Nelson

Lawmakers from separate parties and different chambers are finding synergy in moving anti-bullying and anti-suicide legislation during the session. Democratic Senator Luz Robles and Republican Representative Gage Froerer say when they found out they were working individually on the same thing they decided to team up. Froerer says HB-134 is a statewide effort to make a dent in the epidemic of teen suicides as well as bullying in our schools.

Brian Grimmett

Dixie State College is now one signature away from officially becoming Dixie State University after receiving approval from the Utah state legislature.

Republican Senator Howard Stephenson wants local schools to have more control over where they spend their money. The Draper lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would require school districts distribute education dollars directly to schools; giving principals control over how it’s spent. But state education leaders say there are problems with the measure. 

Andrea Smardon

Former Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson was in Salt Lake City today.  The Baptist minister and civil rights activist delivered the keynote address for the University of Utah’s Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations.   Before his address, Jackson argued that the U would benefit from a more multicultural student body. 

Most Utah voters are willing to raise taxes to pay for public education. That’s according to an annual study gathered by Dan Jones and Associates, the University of Utah Center for Public Policy and Administration and The Exoro group.

The Dixie State College Board of Trustees is meeting today to decide what the school should be called when its status changes from a college to a university this year.  As part of their decision, the trustees will consider a recent controversy over what some say are racial connotations surrounding the name “Dixie” and whether or not the word should remain in the new name. 

Utah Schools Last in Breakfast Program Participation

Jan 15, 2013

Utah has the fewest number of eligible school children eating free and reduced price breakfast each day. According to a new national report released today, Utah served about 34 low-income children breakfast for every 100 that received free or reduced price lunch during the 2011-2012 school year. 

Ad Firm Suggests Names for Dixie State College

Jan 10, 2013

The company Dixie State College enlisted to come up with a new name for the school unveiled a list of suggestions to an eager crowd last night in St. George. Sorenson Advertising spent three months doing interviews and assembling focus groups with students, faculty, alumni and members of the community. Dixie State College is positioning itself to gain university status this year. 

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