Utah lawmakers reject school choice bill called Hope Scholarship


Nikki Ward, principal of St. John the Baptist Elementary Faculty, locations an ash cross on scholar Ada Harlan’s brow throughout The Skaggs Catholic Heart’s celebration of Ash Wednesday with an all-school Mass at Juan Diego Catholic Excessive Faculty in Draper on Saturday. The Hope Scholarship invoice was defeated within the Home of Representatives on Monday. (Steve Griffin, Deseret Information)

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Hope Scholarship invoice was defeated within the Home of Representatives on Monday, even after important adjustments the laws’s sponsor stated rendered it so it will not hurt public training financially and would require recipients to take an annual norm-referenced evaluation.

HB331, sponsored by Rep. Candice Pierucci, was rejected by a vote of 53-22.

“This new substitute language ensures that the WPU (weighted pupil unit) stays with the LEA (native training company) even after a scholar has left and that ensures our public training system shall be held innocent and, in truth, you are receiving extra funding even after a scholar has chosen to seek out an alternate possibility for training,” Pierucci stated.

Underneath the laws, the scholarship can be awarded by a scholarship granting group chosen by the Utah State Board of Schooling by the state’s procurement course of.

Households with decrease incomes can be given enrollment desire as would these whose kids had skilled bullying, cyberbullying or hazing, which was reported, documented and investigated.

Pierucci pointed to the current deaths of Utah kids who died by suicide after they had been bullied in school, their respective households have stated.

“We must always completely be addressing bullying in our public colleges, whereas additionally acknowledging that generally the very best and most secure possibility is to empower dad and mom to get their little one in a protected new academic setting,” she stated.

However some lawmakers spoke in opposition to the invoice, with Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake Metropolis, questioning protections within the invoice.

“I do not see even with the fifth substitute robust accountability measures right here,” he stated. “If we increase this line merchandise, this sum of money for this factor and public training, can we come again and say that it is benefiting kids?”

Rep. Marsha Judkins, R-Provo, who additionally spoke in opposition, stated there are broad selections in public training now. She questioned why when personal colleges supply scholarships that the state ought to “supplant these scholarships.”

Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, supported the invoice, significantly new language extending scholarship consideration to households whose kids have skilled bullying in school.

“We heard from some dad and mom who’re determined for an alternate for his or her little one. As they watch their kid’s spiral into despair, however can not afford different choices their desperation will increase. I respect the large efforts of the general public training system to answer the person wants. However that is not all the time potential. And this very slim method addresses those that merely want another choice and I urge my colleagues to assist this invoice,” Lisonbee stated.

Home Majority Whip Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, urged the Home’s assist of the invoice, explaining it is not going to hurt public training, in truth it will profit from it financially.

“I get it … Many individuals don’t like competitors. Some folks within the training system do not like competitors. However that is good on so many ranges for our colleges and for our dad and mom,” he stated.

Schultz stated he was lucky in that he and his spouse had been in a position to afford personal options for 2 of their six kids.

“This invoice is focused at these that do not have that lucky luxurious. I ask this physique to place your self in these dad and mom’ sneakers,” he stated.

Early variations of the invoice had been opposed by trainer associations, the state college board and associations representing college superintendents and native college boards.

Earlier within the legislative session, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox stated he would veto the laws.

“I am all in on vouchers. However we now have a protracted technique to go earlier than we get there,” Cox stated. “I need to get there. I imagine in vouchers. I can not wait to get there. However now is just not the time.”

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Boyfriend charged with killing University of Utah student who had previously called police for help


Haoyu Wang faces three felony counts within the loss of life of Zhifan Dong.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The College of Utah campus pictured in 2020. Prosecutors charged a world U. scholar with killing his girlfriend, additionally a scholar, on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022.

A 19-year-old College of Utah scholar known as police for assist in January after she stated her boyfriend attacked her. Little greater than a month later, that man has now been charged in her Feb. 11 killing.

Haoyu Wang, 26, was charged Friday with homicide and two counts of possession of illicit medication with the intent to distribute in reference to the loss of life of Zhifan Dong. Each had been worldwide college students on the U. from China.

“Our workplace intends to do all the things in our energy to deliver a measure of justice for the sufferer and [her] household,” Salt Lake County District Lawyer Sim Gill stated in a press release Friday on the costs. Wang is being held in jail with out bail.

Gill known as it “a tragic case” and stated he met this week with Dong’s dad and mom, who flew to Salt Lake Metropolis after their daughter’s loss of life. College leaders even have met together with her dad and mom. U. spokesperson Chris Nelson stated the household is at the moment asking for privateness as they grieve.

Dong was a freshman on the U. who got here to the college by Utah World, which helps immerse first-year worldwide college students within the educational and cultural lifetime of the college. She was from Anyang, Henan province, China.

Police say she was killed in a home violence state of affairs earlier this month at a Salt Lake Metropolis motel. The slaying occurred a few month after a earlier Jan. 12 home violence-related name from Dong that Salt Lake Metropolis officers additionally responded to.

The charging paperwork Friday confirmed for the primary time that Dong was the reported sufferer in that January name. Wang was charged on the time with home violence-related assault, based on courtroom paperwork. He informed police that he had hit Dong within the head throughout an argument. Emergency responders famous that Dong had a lump the place she stated she was damage.

The day after the incident, Dong “known as police once more on account of Wang’s conduct,” the courtroom submitting notes.

A Salt Lake Metropolis police spokesperson declined to touch upon what sources had been supplied to Dong at that time, if any, or whether or not they known as the U. to tell the college in regards to the assault. A U. spokesperson stated he was not conscious of the college being alerted to the state of affairs in January.

That sharing of data between departments ought to now be widespread apply, following the homicide of U. scholar Lauren McCluskey. And others faculties within the state, resembling Southern Utah College, work with their native municipal police departments to speak on instances involving college students.

Dong is the second Chinese language scholar on the U. to be killed in lower than 5 years. Beforehand, scholar ChenWei Guo was shot east of campus in October 2017.

In that very same timeframe, three feminine college students had been killed on account of intimate accomplice violence.

Dong was discovered useless at a High quality Inn at 616 S. 200 West throughout a welfare verify by Salt Lake Metropolis police, in a room that had been registered to Wang since Feb. 3. Officers had been known as there after the U.’s police division alerted them that Wang had allegedly made threats to Dong, whom he recognized as his girlfriend.

Charging paperwork launched Friday state that Wang had emailed a U. worker and said he and Dong had been going to make use of medication to “have a painless loss of life.” The message indicated that the couple can be useless earlier than they had been discovered.

Salt Lake Metropolis police, aiding College of Utah officers, arrived on the motel after pinging Dong’s cellphone location.

Wang informed police that he and Dong supposed to die by suicide collectively, and that he had ordered medication on the “darkish internet” utilizing bitcoin, based on the possible trigger assertion. Wang stated they each took these medication, and Dong grew to become unresponsive.

Paperwork state Wang fell asleep, and when he wakened, he seen Dong was having hassle respiratory. As an alternative of calling an ambulance, the courtroom filings state, he injected her with a bigger dose of medicine. She then died.

Wang informed police he then injected himself with medication once more and remained within the room till officers arrived.

U. President Taylor Randall has expressed sympathy for Dong’s loss of life and condolences to her household. He stated the campus is mourning “the tragic loss of life of one in all our personal,” particularly Dong’s friends at school’s worldwide scholar program.

Editor’s notice • Those that are experiencing intimate accomplice violence, or know somebody who’s, are urged to name the Utah Home Violence Hyperlink Line, 1-800-897-LINK (5465), or the Utah Rape and Sexual Assault Disaster Line, 1-888-421-1100. In the event you or folks you recognize are vulnerable to self-harm, the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline gives 24-hour help at 1-800-273-8255.