Education is the most important issue that the state of Utah addresses every year in the Legislature. My passion has been education and the improvement of our educational system to make sure our children receive the best education possible to prepare them to be productive and successful members of our society. My opponent claims he will support education but provides no information on his website or in any other forum on how he will tackle the tough issues that face education in our state. I want you to know where I stand on some key issues facing our children’s education.
This year the education funding fight has revolved around Proposition 1, which will raise much-needed funds for both schools and roads. I support Proposition 1 but my opponent has not taken a stance on this important proposition. Our schools need funding. We are 2nd to last in the nation for school funding. We need Proposition 1 to pass so the State can raise the much-needed tax dollars to improve our children’s education. I agree with Governor Herbert, that the Proposition 1 compromise made with the Utah Legislature, the business Community and educators, which is estimated to cost voters $4.00 a month, is needed. Our schools need to be fixed now! We cannot afford to wait another 10 years to help fix the funding for our public schools.
You can go to this website and put in 84020 and click on each school in Draper to see how much they will benefit annually from this tax:
My opponent claims he will reduce class size but gives no explanation on how he will do that. Reducing class size cannot be accomplished without increased funding. This is why, if Proposition 1 does not pass, the money will not exist to tackle any of the issues that we have in our education system.
I believe that the issue begins with the push for high-density housing at the state level. The state is incentivizing cities to put in high-density housing. This type of housing brings many challenges as well as increased enrollment at our already overcrowded schools. We must allow our local cities to decide how they want to develop their communities.
The legislature must adequately fund the construction of new schools in areas where growth has skyrocketed. Without new facilities, we will not be able to reduce class sizes. In the meantime, as the schools are being built, we will need to focus on increasing the number of classroom aides to assist the teachers with their workload. Teaching aides play a very important role in the classroom and help ensure that children have the one on one attention that makes the classroom more efficient and effective.
Just talking about class size will not resolve this important issue. As your Representative I will look at not just more money but at many options that can maximize our current resources to decrease class size.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, we have NO TIME TO LOSE. The co-sponsor of this bill was Howard Stephenson who stated that vouchers have been reported to hurt education. Michele has always sided with Utah Voters and believes Vouchers would hurt education in Utah.
My opponent’s flier stressed the need for Empowering parents to participate in the education of their children? B) Utah parents and educators know what is best for our students. Whether it is the public, charter, private or homeschooling network. My opponent’s campaign Manager, Richard Jaussi was an independent contractor for Parents for Choice in Education, which supports tuition tax credits and vouchers. Is this why my opponent is taking a stance on the voucher issue this way?
The people of Utah spoke loudly when they voted down vouchers in record numbers. We need to listen to the voters, not political advisors. Michele will work diligently to prevent any attempt to decrease funding to our schools through a voucher program.
It is vital that we keep the great teachers we have in our educational system and in our state. We must provide competitive salaries and benefits to encourage our best teachers, as well as, our future teachers to stay in Utah instead of going to other states.
Utah has spent billions in cash and tax incentives in their efforts to recruit high tech companies to our state. The state has made it financially beneficial to these companies to come here. We need the same commitment from the State to attract and keep the best teachers in Utah. If we have the will to do it for an out-of-state corporation then we certainly must have the will to do it for our teachers and our children. Without an educated workforce in the future, these same companies that we have invested so much into will leave to find the educated workforce they need somewhere else.
We need to focus on providing our teachers with the tools such as modern computers and technical support to ensure our students are ready for the future. We must make sure that our teachers have the support in the classroom by providing them a sufficient number of aides to help make sure no child is left behind.
It is important in an election that the candidates go into detail how they plan to represent you and your concerns at the capital. My campaign has been about the issues. I want to make sure you have your questions answered. Please contact me at Micheleweeks.com if you would like to discuss in further detail.
Thank you for your support and please vote today for Michele Weeks, District 51 Utah House of Representatives.