SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 9, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) — Gov. Gary Herbert wants to pump up state spending on public and higher education next year by more than $400 million dollars. The $422 million increase is the centerpiece of a proposed $14.8 billion budget Herbert sent to lawmakers on Wednesday.
Herbert has consistently pledged his budget allegiance to education with steady increases in per-student funding. It is expected that 9,700 Utah children will start school next year. Herbert is proposing a 4.75 percent — or $130 million — increase in per-student spending in public schools. It will be up to local school boards to decide whether to use it on teacher salaries, professional development, or technology.
Herbert’s also concerned about the impact of rising college tuition on the average student’s ability to get a higher education. Herbert has set aside $140 million for higher education in this budget plan.
The governor’s budget proposal is a blueprint for the Utah Legislature to use when members gather next month to draft and approve a final spending plan. Lawmakers don’t often rubber stamp the governor’s proposals, but they do recognize them as his priorities.