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Federal stimulus funds for teachers may face a fight in Utah

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  • Barclay Burns
    Aug. 13, 2010 6:13 p.m.

    Please don't have an ideological dog fight with the development of thousands of Utah's children. The investment in them now will make a lifelong difference.

  • GD
    Aug. 13, 2010 6:42 p.m.

    I see a problem with the comment in the paper that said they'll probably follow normal distribution of money. That mean's administrators (we can do without more), custodians etc. If we take the money put it all on hiring teachers and reduce class size. This will help students the most.

  • pharmacist
    Aug. 13, 2010 7:10 p.m.

    I think its good to look at what strings the Feds are attaching first. Then make the choice being informed.

  • Hellooo
    Aug. 13, 2010 8:13 p.m.

    @pharmacist you are right about the strings as the bill requires a commitment of those that accept the money not to decrease funding to schools next year. The slow recovery is projected now, even by the Fed. Removing the option for cuts in education, the largest portion of the States budget, is like the Federal Government saying how states must budge their money. Add, in the increases in Medicaid inheriant in the Health Care Reform Act and you are painting the States that accept this money into a fiscal straight jacket next year. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • MormonDem
    Aug. 13, 2010 9:44 p.m.

    I can't believe legislators are even having this conversation. We're not satisfied with being the worst state for education funding in the country? We're now trying to compete with 3rd-world countries for the title?

    The national debt is definitely a problem (always was, even back when Reagan, Bush, and Bush II each took their turn doubling it), but underfunding education is an idiotic approach to addressing it. Education is the thing that fuels the economy in the long term. If we don't have an educated workforce, companies don't want to set up shop here. Utah's academic performance is already in decline (even though the low number of minorities in our state tweaks the statistics, both our white students and our minority students underperform on average).

    Firing teachers won't help reduce the deficit; it will just make us ill-prepared to contribute to an economic recovery.

  • first2third
    Aug. 13, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    So the bill requires utah to not cut funding for education that's the catch?
    The bill will give utah schools 101 million.
    Teachers will keep their jobs.
    Class sizes will be smaller.
    Kids will get a better education.
    Some in the Legislature are not sure they want the above things for Utah's Children. But they, "will hold their heads high knowing they did not contribute to the bankruptcy of America." The money will be spent, but the tax payers of Utah will not get a share of their own tax dollars, thanks to the high heads in the Legislature...UNBELIEVABLE.

  • Rock Of The Marne
    Aug. 14, 2010 12:04 a.m.

    I say we always do the opposite of what the Sutherland Institute says which is the same group that thinks we should be more compassionate to the illegal immigrants (i.e. cheap labor for business).

  • Doug10
    Aug. 14, 2010 1:07 a.m.

    Worried about what strings are attached?????

    Hopefully the children this money educates will be smarter than paranoid politicians now in office.

    Utah already is in the position of taking more money than they pay in taxes. Why take the high road or the political stand on the backs of the poorest paid teachers in the country or on the backs of children. What lesson should they learn?

  • libertarianmind
    Aug. 14, 2010 4:50 a.m.

    The whole so called "stimulus package was a lie and a farce, we know now that a large portion of the taxpayers money is being held back in a slush fund until the elections in November, as for the first so called emergency world financial meltdown bailout, again we now know after the fact a large potion went to global interests not American interests, and when the secretary of the fed was asked where the money went she couldn't give anyone and answer,do you think something smells here? And now the stimulus money (second bailout) is spent on keeping the bloated inefficient government school system functioning with it's non competitive tenured for life teachers in place while the rest of us in the public sector have to work for a living? and that's if we can find work, now you know why the people kicked Bailout Bob out the door, politicians be warned, the sheep are tired of being sheared.

  • My2Cents
    Aug. 14, 2010 5:04 a.m.

    Dangling the carrot of greed that will serve no purpose in helping education. Waddups has sold his soul to greed and has his head on backwards and where the sun don't shine.

    At least Herbert is using some rationale and sanity in being cautious. These funds help save teachers jobs? Not likely. Jobs are permanent, this money is one time bribery and a lottery. Kennedy had it right, "what can you do for your country"?

    Enforcing immigration and labor laws will decrease the class size and the pressure on teachers. Enforcing immigration laws would mean we can cut funds to the DWS, Welfare, Chip, Food stamps, and day care services that education supplies. We already have enough education money, it's just being diverted and used for the wrong reasons.

    All Americans, including education, have a duty to think of America and our excessive debts. Its about sacrifice, even if it means cuts to education and welfare and UDOT. We didn't become america because government fed us, we become americans because we can survive without government handouts (Socialism). We put our country ahead of ourselves is what made america.

  • Larry
    Aug. 14, 2010 6:11 a.m.

    Utah Familys are 100 years behind the times, The Children are to busy playing Ball Games and not Learning about Social Studies.
    I do not know how Utah'ns can work in Aero Space with their Educations.
    Just try Mowing a Yard or Cleaning up!

  • pat1
    Aug. 14, 2010 6:28 a.m.

    Here we go again with an idiotic debate where ideology trumps practicality. The Federal Government has its purpose. Who, really, wants to return to laissez-faire capitalism with no controls of any kind? We do not live in Utopia. Many suffer from lack of employment. Look to Southern Utah and see! In my own neighborhood another neighbor is losing a house.

    Our state educational system is an abyss. We need qualified teachers, not merely mothers who might be qualified to home school, but are usually not, and my experience with these is that socially the children are not always learning how to cope with people different than they are--a huge mistake in a country like ours.

    If this governor will not take the stimulus money, I am changing my affiliation from Republican to Independent. I'm disgusted.

  • sgerbil
    Aug. 14, 2010 6:52 a.m.

    It is quite obvious that Wimmer hates America and wants Utah to be its own country. What an idiot. This guys needs to be voted out.

  • Hanksboy
    Aug. 14, 2010 8:33 a.m.

    The only thing of which we have to be careful is making long-term commitments based on one-time money. But we have no option but to make those tough decisions and take the money. Utah, like the rest of the nation, has been hit by the record breaking recession. You can argue about whether the Feds should have thrown "stimulus" money at the banks and auto industry, but turning down money for education would be foolish.

  • DN Subscriber
    Aug. 14, 2010 8:49 a.m.

    The devil is always in the details.

    The "no reduction next year" basically forces $101 million more in Utah tax dollars next year if we take the bait this year. In a time when we must cut back government spending and employees at all levels this is pure insanity. Especially when it looks like the economy is getting much worse, not better.

    Waddoups needs to reconsider his gullible "take the free money" position.

    Wimmer should be congratulated for seeing that this scheme indeed would force us to "...participate in the bankrupting of our nation."

    If we need more money for schools, that is a local issue, not an excuse for feds to be involved, and so far, Utah legislators have wisely kept the funding to an appropriate level, despite the chronic complaints of the teachers unions who will never be satisfied with how much they get.

    Reject this "free money!"

  • dumprake
    Aug. 14, 2010 8:59 a.m.

    First, there is a flood of children leaving the public schools for charter and private schools; thus, it's a great time to reduce spending for public education.

    Second, the lie is always that more money means better education, that is simply not true. Utah historically has low funding for schools, but rates among the highest in the quality of that education.

    Third, most comments here reveal a large naivete regarding our national economics. The economy is not going to rebound back to what it was, ever. Inflation (feds just printing money) is going to knock us all in the head in the coming years.

    Fourth, socialism, which is exactly what we have, and Obama and Pelosi and Reid are shoving more and more of it down our throats, is an economic killer, not to mention it moves huge amounts of power to the federal government. Sound familiar?

    Fifth, tyranny is when the government does what the people do not want. Tyranny is what we live under today. It's time to say no to tyranny.

  • cjb
    Aug. 14, 2010 9:47 a.m.

    ""It's always tempting to take money, particularly when you're in a recession-type environment," Wimmer said. "Some person or some state or some group has got to stand up and say no.""

    ------------------

    Actually, the government spending extra money in recessionary times is EXACTLY the thing we want to have done.

    In conjunction, we want to pay off debt during the good times, but unfortunately that never happens.

    Bottom line though, this is the right thing for Utah's school children, and consequently for Utah's and the nations future.

    As for the argument that this is Socialism, --- So What? ---

    Public education is it self socialism to start with. Please people, consider getting your informatioin from some place other than talk radio, this isn't any kind of a real education.

  • Thucydides
    Aug. 14, 2010 10:37 a.m.

    RE: Dumprake

    First, charter schools are public schools and receive public dollars. Oh, and public school enrollment is increasing by 2000+ this year...

    Second, Utah "rates among the highest in quality of education?" Are you insane? By what measure?

    Third, inflation is not the feds printing money (what does this have to do with anything?), it is the cost of consumer goods rising, which can be caused by a variety of factors. Check your own naivete.

    Fourth, if you think we live under socialism you really have no idea what that term means or any understanding of history...

    Fifth, when you say we live under tyranny you insult millions who really have. Again, read a history book.

    You anti-government zelots would be a lot more convincing if you actually used facts to support your arguments rather than believing everything you hear...

  • cimsonutah
    Aug. 14, 2010 11:12 a.m.

    I teach fifth grade in Highland, Utah. My class size will be 37 students to start the year. My class sizes have gone up every year that I have taught. This will be my sixth year of teaching.

    I have no "anchor babies" in my classroom. Just students who are there to learn.
    You don't want to take the money because you're worried it will turn you into a socialist, fine. What is your solution. Status quo? Public education needs that money badly.

    I feel like a few of our representatives would be happy to see public education done away with. If this happens the gap between the have and the have nots will continue to grow.

    If you don't want to raise taxes, and you really want five kids, what is your solution?

  • cimsonutah
    Aug. 14, 2010 11:14 a.m.

    I teach fifth grade in Highland, Utah. My class size will be 37 students to start the year. My class sizes have gone up every year that I have taught. This will be my sixth year of teaching.

    I have no "anchor babies" in my classroom. Just students who are there to learn.
    You don't want to take the money because you're worried it will turn you into a socialist, fine. What is your solution. Status quo? Public education needs that money badly.

    I feel like a few of our representatives would be happy to see public education done away with. If this happens the gap between the have and the have nots will continue to grow.

    If you don't want to raise taxes, and you really want five kids, what is your solution?

  • Dektol
    Aug. 14, 2010 11:51 a.m.

    Just say NO to federal welfare payments.

  • scambuster
    Aug. 14, 2010 1:08 p.m.

    Utah might as well take the money, because the taxpayers are on the hook for it regardless. In other words, according to the bill, Utah can refuse the money but it will just go to another state, but the Utah taxpayer will still get to pay for it. At least by taking the money, it will be spent in the local economy which can't hurt local businesses. Remember that for every $1 of spent in the economy, $2 are created.

    I hate to break it to folks but we are a consumer- driven economy.

  • Dixie Dan
    Aug. 14, 2010 1:20 p.m.

    To all teachers, firemen and police officers who will lose their job if this grant does not take place, remember who put you in the breadline this November.

  • micawber
    Aug. 14, 2010 2:47 p.m.

    I imagine this will end up like South Carolina, where the Governor garnered big headlines by publicly refusing stimulus funding. But in the end, South Carolina took the money.

    When Representative Wimmer made his comment about how the Democrats are using this to try to buy the election, he proved to me that he cares more about elections than he does about people.

  • carman
    Aug. 14, 2010 3:11 p.m.

    Mr Obamas bill reflects the absolute worst in election year politics. It is an attempt to buy votes by the White House and should be scorned by anyone who loves freedom and integrity.

    While Utah Schools have generally done a good job managing costs and their budgets, thousands of districts across the country have raised wages and benefits faster than local economic growth for decades. Now they are in a situation where taxpayers are unwilling and even unable to pay more and are looking the Federal Government to bail themselves out of the problems created by poor fiscal management. In many low cost, Mid-West towns, teachers are paid 70-90k per year (for a 8.5 month/year job) and given benefits that are far in excess of local private employer packages. While private employers have been adjusting to economic realities over the past 10-15 years, the schools have delayed making needed changes and instead have turned repeatedly to tax hikes.

    Now that the public is fed up with the process, these schools are looking for a handout. The White House is all too happy to bail them out in an election year.

  • carman
    Aug. 14, 2010 5:51 p.m.

    One more point: This funding is a one-time shot in the arm. It may delay the inevitable, but it will not change the outcome. We should not be bailing out school districts and creating moral hazard problems down the road.

    There is room for government intervention to prevent massive depressions, but it must be done in the right way. Works projects to build dams, infrastruction, high-speed rail, retrain displaced workers, etc. can make sense if planned in advance and spending timed appropriately to coincide with economic downturns. It's not an easy thing to do, but with pre-planning and pre-approval, it can be done. When combined with reasonable monetary policy, this could give the economy a shot in the arm when needed without busting the budget or artificially propping up parts of the market that desparately need recessions to get excesses back into equalibrium. But any spending in the trough needs to be offset by net savings during expansions. This is the part that uncle sam has miseably failed to accomplish over the past 50+ years.

  • Steven S Jarvis
    Aug. 14, 2010 6:05 p.m.

    The cost of accepting this money also includes a special session.

    What the news has failed to report on is how far off this current year's budget and the final results of last year's budget. The last news I heard was in April when we were 100m in the hole. I have heard estimates that if trends continue that the State will be 700m in the hole by the end of the fiscal year.

    Of course the state will accept this money because they have spent money they didn't have and ignored the consequences BECAUSE it is an election year. If we are indeed looking at several hundred million in the hole, all government services including education are going to be on the chopping block. Layoffs are inevitable.

  • owlmaster2
    Aug. 14, 2010 6:34 p.m.

    Karl Wimmer has to be one of the stupidest individuals I've ever in my life known about or heard about...
    Our kids and grand-kids futures are going to stifled because an ex badge heavy dope is against taking some of the money paid by Utahans, back to help KIDS???
    Get a grip Wimmer.

  • carman
    Aug. 14, 2010 10:20 p.m.

    Wimmer is exactly right that this is election year politics and a blatant attempt by the White House and the Democrat controlled Congress to buy votes. It is slimy politics and it will probably work and buy the Dems some Teachers Union Votes.

    Having said that, it is tough to turn our share away if the Dems are going to bribe voters with it. It's a catch-22...

  • scambuster
    Aug. 15, 2010 12:51 a.m.

    Carman, Republicans do the same with tax cuts. They bribe voters by passing big tax cuts. The sad thing is they use the same credit card as the Democrats do. Democrats finance their stimulus spending while Republicans finance stimulus tax cuts. Both are stimulus and both run up the deficit. We need something new in Washington because neither party is worth a salt anymore.

  • scambuster
    Aug. 15, 2010 12:52 a.m.

    Carman, Republicans do the same with tax cuts. They bribe voters by passing big tax cuts. The sad thing is they use the same credit card as the Democrats do. Democrats finance their stimulus spending while Republicans finance stimulus tax cuts. Both are stimulus and both run up the deficit. We need something new in Washington because neither party is worth a salt anymore.

  • MormonDem
    Aug. 15, 2010 1:33 a.m.

    "Utah historically has low funding for schools, but rates among the highest in the quality of that education."

    Um, this is actually not true--the Trib did a study on this a year or two ago. Our performance rankings appear artificially high because we have a very low percentage of minority students. The sad fact is that minority students in America tend, on average, to perform lower academically. Since we have fewer minority students, they pull the average down less. But if you break out the performance averages by race, white kids in Utah do poorer academically than white kids elsewhere, and so do minority kids.

    So far Utah has received $4.5 billion in stimulus money. Fully 1/3 of that came in the form of tax cuts. The rest has gone local contractors to build roads and bridges, water treatment upgrades, millions in small business loans to thousands of small business, Pell grants for job re-training, and of course saving the jobs of teachers, policemen, and firemen. If you don't think we should have taken the money, explain how we would have survived without it.

  • carman
    Aug. 15, 2010 3:43 p.m.

    To Scambuster: While I agree with the sentiment you express that Dems and Repubs often play the same slimy game of buying votes from too-easily-bought voters, I must disagree with you on the point that tax cuts and special interest spending are equally bad.

    With a tax cut, both Dems and Repubs at each income level receive the same benefit. Rich and poor Dems and Repubs get the same break. With earmarks and special interest funding, politicians in power funnel money to their power bases in an effort to win loyalty at the ballot box. This type of behavior is the most egregious in terms of the harm it does to democracy, freedom and the respect for government. One additional point: A tax break can reflect a respect by government that ultimately the resources of this nation below to its citizens, not their government. But a government that takes from all to funnel to the few (e.g. a special interest with political power), is a government that is slowly eroding its citizens freedom to choose.

  • carman
    Aug. 15, 2010 3:45 p.m.

    To scambuster: I ran out of space before saying that I do agree that we need something new in Washington. Both sides back their appear to beat on the other only to solidify their own power bases and feed their own self-interests and egos.

  • carman
    Aug. 15, 2010 3:51 p.m.

    To MormonDem: re "If you don't think we should have taken the money, explain how we would have survived without it"

    This is precisely the problem with pork barrel spending. No one feels like they can stand up and say "NO!" to the money without feeling cheated. So we end up in a spending spiral without any way to add discipline to the system. If we hadn't made so many poor personal decisions such as buying too big of homes, too many four-wheelers, too many boats, too many vacations, too many new clothes, etc., etc., we would be in a better to position to take the high ground and ask the nation not to mortgage our and our children's futures for a bit higher standard of living today.

  • jotab
    Aug. 16, 2010 8:30 a.m.

    One thing all of you are not aware of is that the bill states that if the governor does not apply the money will do directly to a state agency to disburse, not to another state.

    There is nothing in the bill that says that the state needs to spend the same amount next year. What is says is that the state can't reduce this years budget by the amount received, it is a concept called maintenance of effort. If this was not included many states would just reduce their budgets by the amount received from the Feds and there would be no benefit.

  • carman
    Aug. 17, 2010 10:57 a.m.

    To jotab:

    There is no benefit either way. We are pulling money out of one pocket and putting into another. We need to stop thinking of Federal money as "free money". We are simply taking from our children and putting it into our own pockets. We are stealing from their futures...