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The House Education Committee on Friday endorsed a bill giving millions more dollars to the STEM Action Center.

The center, which is in the Governor's Office of Economic Development, works with schools and businesses to improve science, technology, engineering and math education in Utah.

HB150, proposed by Rep. Val Peterson, R-Orem, would put $23.5 million more into the center this year.

However, Peterson and lawmakers who back the plan acknowledged legislative leaders may pencil in the center for much less new money.

The Legislature created the STEM Action Center last year with a $10 million appropriation.

Some 40 schools throughout Utah piloted math software in the fall, and the center wants to make it available to more schools and expand science initiatives for seventh and eighth grades as well.

"This is important for us to be competitive in this global marketplace," Peterson told the committee.

Twitter: @KristenMoulton