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With help from third-graders, Herbert signs ed reform into law

Published March 27, 2012 7:32 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

On Tuesday, third-graders at Falcon Ridge Elementary in West Jordan greeted Utah Gov. Gary Herbert with a colorful flag ceremony before he signed four education-related bills into law. Herbert approved the public education budget, an early childhood intervention program and a bill that significantly alters educator employment laws.

Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, spent months working with teachers and school administrators to develop the employment reform law. It received widespread support in the education community and the Utah Legislature.

The law requires school principals and other administrators to undergo annual evaluations based on student academic progress, leadership skills, ability to complete teacher evaluations and other areas to be decided by local school boards. Eventually, it will tie at least 15 percent of their pay to performance. It also establishes four new performance categories for all school employees, including teachers, and ties those annual ratings to decisions regarding raises and terminations.

Herbert said he asked the Legislature to fund $111 million in new money for public schools, but lawmakers provided $117 million.

"The Legislature saw my budget recommendations and then raised me, knowing that putting more money on the table for the children of Utah is always a good bet," Herbert said in a statement.