aaron osmondThe Opportunity for a Free Public Education in Utah. Our State Constitution requires that we provide a free public education for every child in the state. As such education is and should continue to be a top policy and funding priority for the Utah State Legislature.

Ensuring Appropriate Education Funding. I am one who believes that we do need to ensure sufficient funding and resources for our local schools. We must consistently work to use the money we have today more wisely as well as find ways to ensure sufficient funding to meet the challenges of our growing education system in the future. The best way to increase education funding is through a thriving economy, not just tax increases. Tax increases may offer a short term gains but they also have long term consequences that must be carefully evaluated. The law of unintended consequences is especially relevant when it comes to tax policy. The best way to grow our economy is to get our own state and federal government out of the way of small businesses, while enable a tax policy that provides consistent funding to invest in public education to support the growth of that economy. I believe this is a careful balance that we need to constantly monitor and adjust.

Local Decision Making. More local control over education is far better than more federal or even state control. It empowers parents and teachers to do what is best for the student and solve the local issues they face.

Local Budget Control. More of our education funding must make it all the way to the classroom so that our children get the best teachers, textbooks, and technology possible to ensure a great education. In addition, we need to empower our local schools to have the freedom to use their available budget how they see fit, rather than have the state mandate their budget usage.

Entice Innovation in Public Schools. We need to reward and recognize administrators and teachers for innovation in our public education system. The best ideas to achieve innovation come from those individuals actually dealing with the local school issues (principals, teachers and parents), not from top-down state and federal mandates. We need to enable and entice innovation in our public education system at that local level.

Transparency at all Levels. Transparency in government is essential, including at the local level. It gives parents and teachers the ability to monitor how education funding is being prioritized and spent and it reduces waste at all administrative levels. We need to continually improve the transparency in public education funding at all levels.

Direct Engagement. Finally, I am committed to personally staying engaged with our schools and school leadership through regular attendance to school board meetings, and regular visits to schools and teachers in my district, and regular engagement with concerned citizens in my district relative to education issues.

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