Utah Legislature passes school supply bill

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Teachers may soon feel more comfortable sending home requests for school supplies, thanks to a bill the Legislature passed Tuesday.

The House unanimously approved small changes the Senate had already made to HB62, meaning the bill now goes to the governor for his signature. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, aims to clarify that elementary schools are allowed to request supplies from parents, though it would still be optional for parents to buy them. If parents didn't wish to buy the supplies, the school would still have to provide them, according to the bill.

Under the state Constitution, elementary education must be free of fees, so teachers currently are allowed to suggest kids bring general supplies but not request very specific items, and they're not allowed to require them. Powell's bill would clarify that teachers are allowed to send home optional supply lists.

Powell has said the bill would mean less out-of-pocket expenses for teachers and more money left in the classroom for other purposes while enabling parents to contribute to their kids' educations.