SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s House Speaker Becky Lockhard, R-Provo, and Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, made the first step Tuesday, Feb. 11, to push the House Republicans’ education agenda.
The pair proposed the Statewide Education Modernization Act, HB131S03, to provide increased technology to children in schools across Utah. Lockhart explained that senators and representatives should expect a “large number” when it comes to the amount of funding that will be requested. According to Lockhart, this bill is a transformation of our educational system.
“What is our 10- to 20-year education plan, where will technology be?” said Gibson. “This is a bold move; this is a bold vision.”
Funding will first be used to stabilize infrastructure, then be put toward professional development and finally the devices themselves. Bill supporters believe this will help reading outcomes, improve ACT/SAT scores and show that the state recognizes the need for modernization.
The final draft of the bill is scheduled to be made available by Friday, Feb 14., so a fiscal note, or estimated price tag, cannot be determined at this time. Lockhart said that an official revenue projection will be determined by Feb. 28.
“We are all technology immigrants around this table, but out children are technology natives, and we need to recognize that,” Lockhart said. “We want to make sure we do this in the right way … we have limited resources, and we want to use those resources in the highest and best way possible.”