Governor announces education as top budget priority

Governor announces education as top budget priority

Photo by Laura Fox

Governor Gary Herbert presented the budget recommendations for the fiscal year 2015 in the Computer Science building atrium on Wednesday, which included education as the top priority of the proposal.

Out of the total budget, 41.7 percent is being allocated to education, with 11.6 percent going to higher education. This investment in education will help move Utah forward to its key goal: 66 percent of adult Utahns will have a post-secondary degree by 2020, according to the budget-briefing book.

“I believe that if we’re going to have the healthiest economy possible, certainly not on the short term but the long term, we have to have a skilled labor force-that means education. So, the bulk of the new money will be spent in the education arena,” said Governor Herbert.

Since so much emphasis was placed on education it’s fitting that the annual budget presentation, regularly held at the Capitol building, was hosted on our campus this year. $19.3 million will go to student equity funding, which will help things like enrollment, additional courses, more teachers and other similar areas.

“It shows the seriousness of the governor in wanting to engulf himself around students,” said Jono Andrews, UVU student body president, about the event taking place on campus.

It is estimated that 85 percent of the graduates from UVU stay in Utah, which helps the state’s economy since we are paying taxes with our better paying jobs from the skills we receive here. Yet, we were among the schools with the lowest state funding per student.

“UVU here is a perfect example of a school that has probably not had its fair share of money yet is picking up a significant role on this goal of 66 by 2020. So this equity funding will be a step in the right direction as far as helping with capacity and equity funding,” said the governor.

Considering the amount of students in the public schools, enrollment at UVU is expected to be around 42,000 by 2020; the approximate $11 million more in equity funding will be helpful in preparation for all those additional students.

“UVU is a growing power in Utah; don’t be ashamed of it because there are so many cool things happening here that other universities just can’t even come close to, including our brand new building,” Andrews said.

The College of Technology and Computing was a great location since our society is becoming ever more dependent in that field. While the rest of the school’s enrollment took a dip when the LDS church missionary age was lowered, T&C’s grew.

“Technology and computing has been a major focus for the governor. It’s a very critical part of our economy. It’s growing and vibrant and a showcase environment of what we’re doing here at Utah Valley University. We’re thankful for leaders who care about our education,” said Matthew Holland, President of UVU, in opening the event.

The robotics students are having great success upon graduation; some landing five figure jobs straight after completing their program. Hosting the budget presentation was a great way to show our state government how valuable our university is.

Following the presentation, President Holland and the dean of Technology and Computing, Michael Savoie, took Governor Herbert on a tour of various technology centers and labs in the Computer Science building, which included a 3D printer, the Electrical Automation and Robotics Technology lab, Digital Animation and Computer Engineering.

Among the many other areas the budget recommendation included was funding towards the STEM Action Center-science technology, engineering, math-which will help our fellow students in the Technology and Computing college.

The governor also addressed the air quality issue that many Utah citizens, including university students, are concerned about. He plans to use $1.8 million towards research, specifically in the Wasatch Front. $1.3 million will go towards the Utah Clean Air Partnership, which helps small businesses upgrade to emissions reducing equipment.

$14.3 million will be used to replace aging school busses that are releasing harmful toxins in the air. All state employees will be given Utah Transit Authority passes to help reduce the amount of emissions from vehicles.

More information, including the full budget recommendations book, can be accessed for free at governor.utah.gov.

Amanda is a senior studying journalism with a minor in digital media. She loves writing lifestyle and enjoys being a part of the UVU Review staff to be able to prepare for when she graduates in 2015. Follow her on Twitter @HollmanAmanda.

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