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Hundreds rally to show support for school funding

Published March 11, 2013 8:03 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Brad Dobson knows what it's like to have nearly 40 students in his English class.

"My class sizes are too big," said the Davis High teacher. "I can't teach writing if I've got 38 kids in the class."

It's part of the reason he, along with several hundred other teachers and parents, filled the Capitol rotunda Monday evening, to thank lawmakers for agreeing to increase base per pupil spending, known as the WPU, by 2 percent and fund another 13,500 students expected in Utah schools in the fall. Though the increases haven't yet been finalized, legislative leaders have agreed upon them.

"Our voices were heard!" Utah Education Association President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh declared to the crowd Monday evening, standing beside stacks of petitions signed in recent days urging lawmakers to boost the WPU by 2 percent. She said more than 6,000 signatures were collected. "We are pleased to be able to thank Utah lawmakers for their investment in our schools."

A number of others also spoke at the event, organized by the Public Education Coalition, including Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, award-winning teachers, a representative from the PTA and business leaders.

House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, told the crowd that though the increases aren't yet a done deal, she's confident the governor will sign them into law.

"We look forward to working with you to move education forward," Lockhart told the crowd.