SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH — Following 14 public hearings throughout Utah, Our Schools Now has amended the Teacher and Student Success Act, finalizing the initiative that will appear before voters in November 2018.
The Act now proposes increasing the income tax and the sales tax by .45 percent. Previously, the initiative called for a .5 percent increase. These increases, along with anticipated growth in the state’s economy, generate approximately $700 million in fiscal year 2020 dedicated for education. Through Our Schools Now, each Utah public school would receive nearly $1000 per student each year, costing the median household less than $35 per month in additional tax.
“It’s time to increase our investment in Utah classrooms so that we can improve student achievement in Utah,” Gail Miller, Co-Chair of Our Schools Now, said. “We are more confident than ever Our Schools Now will be successful in next year’s election.”
Additionally, the increases will take full effect in calendar year 2019, rather than incrementally over multiple years. Immediate implementation simplifies the initiative and provides investment more quickly to where it is needed most – our neighborhood schools.
Polls continue to show support for greater investment in education, as 89 percent of active voters believe education in Utah is inadequately funded. Investing in teachers, class size reduction, classroom support, early learning and technology are proven to improve student achievement.
“Utahns are ready to increase their investment in students and teachers and Our Schools Now gives them an opportunity to do so,” said Austin Cox, campaign manager for Our Schools Now.
Signature gathering will begin next month. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget will review the new proposal and provide an updated fiscal note. Following their analysis, the Lt. Governor’s Office will authorize Our Schools Now to begin collecting signatures. Volunteers wanting to help gather signatures and those wishing to sign the initiative can go to www.ourschoolsnow.com for more information.