The School Voucher Bill, a standing issue in the Utah Legislature it seems, is back and is being fast tracked.
HB148, sponsored by Rep. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, would cost Utah taxpayers $5.4 million in 2008 and $8.8 million in 2009 if approved. The families of all public school children would be eligible for taxpayer-funded vouchers to help pay private school tuition under the bill.
Voucher amounts would range from $500 per child to $3,000 per child depending on family income.
The bill places no limit on how many families could use vouchers.
This is a bad idea. If this passes, public tax funds would potentially be funneled into private schools, many which are religious in nature. Most private schools do not have the oversight that public schools do and are not beholden to state mandates.
The “problems” with our public schools need to be addressed and fixed – not with “solutions” that would, in the words of legislative proponents of the voucher bill, force districts to improve services and trim bureaucratic waste if faced with the prospect of losing students (and the funds that come with them) to private schools. As is typical of many of the legislative bills, this one attempts to overlook the real issues that need to be “fixed” – not stomped on with the out-moded adage of “fix it”, without providing the tools to do so.
The entire system needs to be overhauled with public funds remaining in the public school system.