Bill would allow teachers to ask parents to buy supplies
After years of work, a bill to clarify that elementary schools may send home lists of supply requests to parents is finally gaining some traction.
The House unanimously approved HB62 on Tuesday. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, would make it clear that elementary schools are allowed to request supplies from parents, though it will be optional for parents to buy them. If parents didn't wish to buy the supplies, the school would still have to provide them, according to the bill.
"This is a practice that's followed in many other states across the country but it is widely not followed in Utah," Powell told lawmakers.
Under the state Constitution, elementary education must be free from fees, so teachers currently are allowed to suggest kids bring general supplies but not request very specific items, and they're not allowed to require them. Powell's bill would clarify that teachers are allowed to send home optional supply lists.
Powell said the bill would mean teachers would spend less of their own money on supplies, parents could help contribute to their kids educations when able, and more money would be left in the classroom for other purposes.
"This will provide additional funding in a state that ranks last in education funding per pupil," Powell said. "This is an additional means to get more money into our schools by people who can afford it."
Powell has been looking into the issue for years and ran a resolution last year to amend the state Constitution, though it did not get through the process. He said this year that he and others have concluded they can clarify the point by simply adding to state law rather than changing the Constitution.
The bill now moves to the Senate.