Thursday, May 17, 2007

Vouchers -- HB174 and the 500 Pound Gorilla in the Corner

I have read recent posts and articles about the State School Board's decision refusing to enact HB174 before the HB148 referendum vote, as well as calls for a special session to attach HB174 to the referendum vote. Steve Urquhart has recently made his opinion of a special session known quite clearly. Derek Staffanson recently commented on the bravery he felt the school board showed by refusing to enact HB174. While I don't necessarily accept the moral high ground that Mr. Staffanson gives to the School board president, I agree that HB174 shouldn't be ram-roded into action while the original substantive HB148 bill hangs in the balance of public opinion and an Election day vote.

I fully believe that there are many in the education establishment who have a solid, and biased agenda of keeping vouchers from becoming law. (they were successful in gaining enough signatures to force a referendum vote) The fact of the matter remains we are having vote on the issue, because there are either enough Utahns who either don't support vouchers, or enough Utahns who want to have more public dialogue on the issue before we are bound to it. It would nullify the democratic process to enact virtually the same law (HB174 was basically an Amendment to HB148 -- the law under scrutiny) before the voice of the people has been heard in a vote, or worse against the will of the people if the referendum is successful in repealing HB148.

While I fully agree with Rep. Urquhart on the merits of vouchers as an efficient, fair, and even handed means of education funding. as well as the need for the education establishment to declare a willingness to truly engage in the process. I strongly feel that voucher bill HB174 should be on hold until after the referendum vote coming this November, and should be repealed if the referendum vote is against the bills implementation.

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