Monday, February 15, 2010

Utah Eyes Cutting 12th Grade To Save $60M

Faced with a $700 million budget shortfall, a Utah Republican state legislator has found a way he figures will cut about 8% of it by eliminating the senior year of high school.

State Sen. Chris Buttars has since toned down the idea, suggesting instead that senior year become optional for students who complete their required credits early. He estimated the move could save up to $60 million, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

"The bottom line is saving taxpayer dollars while improving options for students," said state Sen. Howard A. Stephenson, a Republican and co-chairman of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee. "The more options we give to students to accelerate, the more beneficial it is to students and taxpayers."

About 200 students a year take advantage of early graduation, said Brenda Hales, state associate superintendent.

This story comes to you courtesy of the Los Angeles Times and Salt Lake City Tribune and remarkably not sponsored by the Utah State Republican Party.

"You're looking at these budget gaps where lawmakers have to use everything and anything to try to resolve them," said Todd Haggerty, a policy associate with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It's left lawmakers with very unpopular decisions."

Let's see if I got this right. Except for the 200 who graduate early, are all the rest of the high school seniors in the state of Utah goofing off with that age old malady called "senioritis?"

As Rodney Dangerfield would say. "Tough state that Utah. Tough state."

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