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With $123M At Stake, Utah Wants Federal Pass On School Tests

Westside Elementary School, Utah
Westside Elementary School, Utah

With a July 1 deadline looming and $123 million at stake, school officials in Utah will ask the federal government for a one-year reprieve from a requirement that 95 percent of students participate in statewide testing.

The Utah State Board of Education on Thursday authorized state schools chief Sydnee Dickson to seek an exemption while the state tries to increase test participation rates that officials say now average 94 percent.

Trustee Kathleen Riebe expressed concern the state could lose federal funds for programs that support teacher professional development and help children who are homelessness, live in poverty or whose parents are migrant farmworkers.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education rejected Utah's first request to opt out of testing requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act.