SALT LAKE CITY -- Governor Gary Herbert wants the bulk of Utah’s half-billion dollar surplus to go to schools, and he broke down exactly where he wants the investment to go in his budget proposal for the coming year.
“I feel the momentum, I feel the change taking place,” Herbert said in a press conference unveiling his budget proposal.
The governor traditionally proposes a budget in December to stake out ground in the deliberation that ends on the last day of the legislative session, when the state House and Senate approve a final budget for the governor to sign or veto.
The governor’s proposal invests $422 million in new money for public and higher education.
$281 million would go to public schools, with the biggest investment going to the weighted pupil unit, or WPU. That’s a measurement of the number of students in each district, with extra weight given to students who need extra help.
Herbert said the WPU investment is the best way to spread the love, saying it, “…helps make sure we have a good education no matter where they’re located, whether it’s Bluff or Bountiful.”
$75 million of the money going to higher education would be for new buildings, with the governor saying increased demand for degrees and certifications makes it necessary to increase capacity at colleges, universities, and technical schools.