Bill to increase transparency in charter school funding advances
Utahns soon could see on their property tax notices exactly how much of their money goes to charter schools.
On Tuesday, the House Education Committee unanimously passed HB392, which would require property tax notices to include a line showing how much goes toward charter schools. Charter schools, which are independently-run public schools, can't levy property taxes like school districts but some local property tax money collected by school districts still goes to them.
"This is just a transparency issue that's long overdue, that taxpayers of the state of Utah should truly know how much of their property tax is going to fund charter schools," said bill sponsor Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem.
Other lawmakers mostly agreed, but Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, expressed some concern that given charters' evolution in Utah and the complexity of education funding, a simple line on property tax notices might be "a little bit confusing and misleading."
The original version of Sandstrom's bill also would have adjusted how much school districts pay charter schools with some districts paying more than they do now and some paying less depending on a number of factors. But committee members decided it would be better to study that issue over the long term than to try to make a change this session, so they removed that part of the bill before passing it out of committee.
HB392 now goes to the House floor.