Utah governor says he’d veto school voucher proposal

February 17, 2022 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said Thursday that he planned to veto a school voucher measure under consideration in the Republican-majority Legislature because it would draw funding from public schools.

“At some point, I will be absolutely willing to support vouchers. But that point is not now because we are underfunding our schools,” he said at a monthly news conference. “You can’t take money that could go to our schools and allow it to go to private schools when you’re not fully funding the education system.”

The legislation would provide families who choose not to enroll their children in public schools “scholarships” for private education. The amount would be based on the Utah’s “weighted pupil unit” formula, the per-student allocation the state sends to public and charter schools based on enrollment. Lower income families could receive up $7,800 in taxpayer dollars, while richer families would receive less.

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Support for vouchers and other “school choice” policies, which Cox said he supports, is reemerging throughout the United States as parents’ groups increasingly scrutinize public school administrators’ choices about curriculums and public health precautions.

The proposal passed through a House committee on Tuesday and would need to clear the entire Utah House and Senate before reaching Cox’s desk.