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Benjamin Wood

Education reporter, Health, education, environment

801-257-8715, bwood@sltrib.com


  • New concerns surface as Vineyard charter school reports on probation status
    Representatives of Vineyard’s Franklin Discovery Academy drew additional scrutiny on Friday as they gave their first report since the school was place...
    Updated Mar 24 2017 09:41 pm   |     |   Share

  • Utah Charter School Board votes to stay out of Draper property dispute
    Utah’s state Charter School Board won’t take part in an ongoing legal dispute between Draper’s American Preparatory Academy and a neighboring industri...
    Updated Mar 24 2017 09:45 pm   |     |   Share

  • Dispute over Utah charter school property forcing question of eminent domain authority
    A Utah charter school group is asking the state charter school board to settle a longstanding property dispute through eminent domain. The board is s...
    Updated Mar 23 2017 11:27 pm   |     |   Share

  • Jordan School District eyes $10 million boost to teacher pay
    Teachers in Jordan School District are about to see more green for their time at the blackboard. Representatives of the district’s school board and e...
    Updated Mar 23 2017 09:33 am   |     |   Share

  • Salt Lake City School District commits to protecting privacy of undocumented students
    Members of the Salt Lake City School District board took a stand against the harassment and deportation of undocumented students on Tuesday, voting un...
    Updated Mar 21 2017 09:32 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |   Tribune file photo)   Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed an executive order to more closely vet state rules and regulations with an eye to reducing burdens on businesses and residents. Gov. Herbert signs more education, public lands, election bills
    Gov. Gary Herbert announced Monday that he has signed another 80 bills passed by this year’s Legislature — including some on federal lands, education ...
    Updated Mar 21 2017 03:17 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Logan Hall, left, Salt Lake School Distirct Peer Assistance Review supervisor, meets with one of the program’s mentor teachers Pat Draper at Bachman Elementary in Salt Lake City.  The teacher mentoring program has boosted staff retention rates but recently lost its state funding. The district plans to continue the program internally.  Draper, a teacher with 40 years of experience mentors Daniel Mills as he teaches his fourth grade class. After funding cuts, SLC schools hope to keep teacher mentoring
    Backman Elementary teacher Daniel Mills doesn’t mince words about his lack of teaching experience, limited to a year as an assistant educator and two ...
    Updated Mar 20 2017 11:05 am   |     |   Share

  • Ogden School District taps state administrator as next superintendent
    One of Utah’s top public education managers is headed back to the Ogden City School District. The district announced Thursday that Rich Nye, currently...
    Updated Mar 17 2017 10:25 pm   |     |   Share

  • Utah school board passively repeals revision for student-athlete transfers
    The Utah Board of Education walked back three months of debate over transfer rules for student-athletes on Monday, effectively repealing a new policy ...
    Updated Mar 13 2017 10:47 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune)   Speaker of the House Greg Hughes, R-Draper, closes out the legislative session on Thursday night,  March 9, 2017. Big issues at Legislature often handled out of public sight
    The 2017 Utah Legislature, which adjourned late Thursday, might be remembered for playing peekaboo on the biggest, toughest items it faced, including ...
    Updated Mar 10 2017 02:51 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Senate President Wayne L. Niederhauser presides over the Senate Floor Time at the Utah State Capitol Thursday March 9, 2017. Utah’s $16B budget boosts school spending, state worker wages, Medicaid growth
    Utah received a bit of a windfall during the 2017 Legislature — projections that it would receive $100 million in extra revenue beyond earlier estimat...
    Updated Mar 10 2017 02:50 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Public Education representatives pose for a group portrait at the Utah State Capitol Thursday March 9, 2017. Utah teachers see give-and-take during legislative session
    The 2017 legislative session was boom and bust for education advocates on all sides of the ideological spectrum. Included in more than $230 million in...
    Updated Mar 10 2017 02:51 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Leah Hogsten  |   Tribune file photo)   Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Terry Buck gives a suspected impaired driver a sobriety test October 31, 2014. Utah Legislature adopts toughest drunken driving law in nation
    Utah is likely to become the first state in the nation to limit drivers to a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05. Senators voted 17-12 on Wednesday f...
    Updated Mar 08 2017 11:24 pm   |     |   Share

  • Senate OKs juvenile justice reform, final House vote required
    A broad overhaul of Utah’s juvenile justice laws aimed at keeping offenders out of detention and in home-based counseling earned unanimous Senate appr...
    Updated Mar 09 2017 02:39 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  Tribune file photo)   Justin Watson, a mechanic, examines an SUV in for repairs, Thursday, September 17, 2015. Utah Legislature poised to end mandatory vehicle safety inspections
    Utah’s car safety inspections are likely going the way of the horse and buggy after a bill was approved by the Senate on Wednesday. Senators voted 19...
    Updated Mar 08 2017 09:48 pm   |     |   Share

  • Utah Senate rejects $350,000 federalism course
    Senators voted Wednesday against spending $350,000 to create a refresher course on federalism — the constitutional relationship between states and the...
    Updated Mar 09 2017 02:39 pm   |     |   Share

  • Utah lawmakers give final approval to this year’s school-grading overhaul
    A seven-year tradition of passing school grading bills continued Wednesday when the Utah Senate gave the final vote of approval for SB220. The new pro...
    Updated Mar 08 2017 10:09 am   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin / The Salt Lake Tribune)    Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, right, speaks to members of the House Democrats caucus meeting at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City Thursday February 2, 2017. Complaints accuse Utah lawmaker of bullying, berating school officials in front of students
    Students who visit Utah’s Capitol during the legislative session get a civics lesson on state history and government, and, for at least one group of U...
    Updated Mar 07 2017 11:25 pm   |     |   Share

  • House approves revised system with a one-year break from school letter grades
    School grades would be suspended for one year under a possible compromise bill approved Tuesday by the Utah House. House members voted 56-18 for SB22...
    Updated Mar 07 2017 10:23 pm   |     |   Share

  • Utah Senate gives early OK to allowing ATVs on Salt Lake County roads
    Street-legal all-terrain vehicles would be allowed on Salt Lake County streets under a bill that earned the preliminary approval of the Utah Senate on...
    Updated Mar 08 2017 07:16 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  | Tribune file photo)    Former West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder, now a state lawmaker, sponsored HB212, that creates a pilot program to reward top teachers who move to or stay at high-poverty schools in the state. In this file photo, Winder helps Darlynn Tobar, then a sixth grader at Endeavor Hall, write a letter inviting then-President Obama to visit Utah, Thursday, December 5, 2013. Senate approves $5,000 bonuses for teachers at high-poverty schools
    Both the House and Senate have approved a bill that would give a $5,000 bonus to top-performing teachers who work in high-poverty schools. Senators v...
    Updated Mar 08 2017 05:10 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     Legislators, staff members and the public fill a meeting room in the State Capitol as the Executive Appropriations Committee meets in Salt Lake City Friday March 3, 2017. Legislature approves state budgets, bulk of new funding reserved for education
    Utah lawmakers gave their final votes to a series of budget bills on Tuesday, securing funding for public services like education, healthcare and law ...
    Updated Mar 09 2017 04:47 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  Tribune file photo)   Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, is pushing a bill that allows the state board of education to forfeit federal funds if a particular program conflicts with state policy, then seek reimbursement from the Legislature. Senate approves symbolic bill letting state school board ask for money
    The Utah Board of Education’s ability to request state funding to cover the cost of ignoring federal mandates would be enshrined in law under a bill a...
    Updated Mar 09 2017 02:40 pm   |     |   Share

  • Resurrected school truancy bill dies again in the Utah Senate
    Utah Senators gave a decisive vote of opposition on Monday to a bill that failed the chamber last week but was kept alive through legislative maneuver...
    Updated Mar 07 2017 07:47 am   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  Tribune file photo)   Gov. Gary Herbert indicates he won’t stand in the way of a food sales tax hike being proposed by Republican lawmakers, as long as they come up with a way to help ease the extra burden on poor Utahns. The proposal -- still a work in progress -- would jump the state food tax from 1.75 percent to 4.75 -- the same as on other retail goods. Food-tax hike is dead in Utah’s Legislature
    The sales tax on food will not be raised, at least this year. With time running out on the legislative session that ends at midnight Thursday, Senate ...
    Updated Mar 08 2017 08:57 am   |     |   Share

  • Senate panel clings to school grading despite push to end practice
    A brewing showdown over school grading may have ended Friday, when the Senate Education Committee voted to stop a bill from reaching the Senate floor ...
    Updated Mar 03 2017 11:01 pm   |     |   Share

  • Senate combines property tax freeze, school funding equalization proposals
    Senators played matchmaker on Friday, joining a bill to raise money for education with a dormant proposal to equalize school district funding. The Sen...
    Updated Mar 06 2017 02:02 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Tom Wharton  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     Courtland Nelson walks across the Spiral Jetty in a remote part of Box Elder County. Spiral Jetty and ancient rock art honored by lawmakers
    Both the Utah House and Senate have approved the designation of not only an official “state work of art” — the Spiral Jetty in the Great Salt Lake — b...
    Updated Mar 06 2017 01:57 pm   |     |   Share

  • Downtown Salt Lake City can be seen in the background of this photo of the Tesoro refinery near 400 West and 900 North in Salt Lake City. Griffin/photo 07/15/04 Senate passes clean-fuel tax incentive
    Utah lawmakers are hoping a $1.8 million tax break is enough to entice refineries here to produce cleaner-burning fuel. Senators on Friday voted 24-1...
    Updated Mar 06 2017 02:02 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     Legislators, staff members and the public fill a meeting room in the State Capitol as the Executive Appropriations Committee meets in Salt Lake City Friday March 3, 2017. Final budget boosts school funding, gives state workers a raise
    Utah’s legislative budget writers decided Friday to use $100 million extra in revenue than previously projected to help Utah schools, give state worke...
    Updated Mar 03 2017 11:37 pm   |     |   Share