Utah Representative Val Potter and Senator Howard Stephenson, R-North Logan and R-Draper, introduced a bill aiming to help the shortage of math, science and special education teachers in Utah.
The bill gives $4,000 stipends to qualifying teachers for the first year, and $1,000 for additional years, with a cap at $10,000.
Potter said the bill aims to encourage special education teachers to stay in their positions, and students to pursue careers in math, science and special education.
“It’s important because we’ve got a real shortage of teachers. The example I get in special education is that we can’t seem to keep the teachers in the business a long time,” he said. “They’ll teach for a few years and then they’ll burn out and they’ll either leave teaching or go into administration, and that’s been a real problem.”
If the bill passes, the state will pay the first $4,000, and the districts will split the $1,000 with the state for additional years.
“We also felt like having the districts participate, it gives them some skin in the game. Their participating, they’re helping out with the salary as well as the state, so it’s a good way to share that additional bonus or salary supplement to the teachers,” Potter said. “I think having more special education teachers is a positive thing for the community and for the school districts, it’s something we have to do.”