Utah Representative Mike Noel and Utah Senator Dennis Stowell discussed upcoming issues regarding possible budget cuts to public education at the December 8, 2009, meeting of the Kane County Board of Education. Stowell, by speaker phone, told the school board the one-time American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding helped the state last year, by filling in funding where it was lacking in the state budget. That money will not be available again for the upcoming year, and an $850 million shortfall is expected.

Noel, who was present, stated Governor Gary Herbert’s budget would be out on Friday, December 11, for the legislators to consider. He indicated he would not support a budget that included a tax increase.

Education cuts could range from 3-5% to a drastic 10%, according to the various views taken by legislators and state personnel reports to Superintendent Robert Johnson. School board members expressed their concerns to both men. The board requested the legislators consider allowing school districts to divert, on a temporary basis, capital funds to fill in any shortfall in the maintenance and operations fund, used to pay teachers and staff. Currently, capital funds can only be used for capital projects.

Johnson reported Kanab Elementary and Valley Elementary Schools have been recognized by the state as high performing Title I schools. Title I schools are schools that serve greater numbers of low income families. Such schools receive supplementary assistance from the federal government, under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

To be a Utah high performing Title I school, a school must achieve adequate yearly progress under NCLB for two consecutive years in both language arts and math, and attain at or above the state average scores on the most recent Core tests. Johnson praised respective principals Pam Aziz and Brent Blodgett for their success.

In other business, the school board adopted an Internal Revenue Code 403 (b) plan; and passed the 2010-2011 school calendar, Policy FAC regarding homeless students, and the Utah Consolidated Application as required by No Child Left Behind. The board approved one home school application and recognized Employees of the Month from Kanab Elementary – teacher Sandra Tilton and custodian Steve Judd.

The Kane Schools Foundation for Students (KSFS) made a PowerPoint presentation to the school board about its progress. KSFS Board of Trustees Chairman Jack Gisler reported the foundation currently has a net worth of over $136,000, including an endowment of over $21,000.

The school board presented diplomas to adult graduates Mariah Rhinehart and Kyla Evangelista, as proud family and friends cheered. Congratulations Mariah and Kyla!