Letter: With voucher bill, Utah Legislature offers up chocolate coating on a poison pill intended to hurt public schools

Regarding HB215:Our state Legislature does not want to increase teacher salaries. If they did, they could have written a clean bill doing just that.Our state Legislature does not even want to help families pay for homeschooling costs or private school tuition. If they did, they could have written a bill appropriating funds for that purpose while guaranteeing no consequent funding decrease at Utah public schools.What our state Legislature wants, as represented in HB215, is to take money away from public schools. The teacher pay increase and, indeed, even the vouchers-by-a-different-name “Utah Fits All Scholarships” are intended as the chocolate coating on a poison pill intended to hurt Utah schools.The bill is a self-negotiated mess created behind closed doors by the state GOP caucus and private interest groups they’ll never tell us about. Teacher pay increases are an acceptable cost to bear as long as they can lay the foundation for there to be fewer public school teachers in the future. State money going to private schools is acceptable as long as it’s not enough to actually cover the cost of a high quality private education.This bill is not what Utah voters want. It is not what Utah schools (public and private) need. And it is not what Utah children deserve.But the Legislature does not care about what we want, need or deserve. They only care about what they want. And they’re counting on Utah voters to not care about what we want. If we continue re-electing them even after they continually propose and pass laws we don’t want, we will prove them right.Zachary Noyce, MidvaleSubmit a letter to the editor