Mayor McAdams #BenChats about Education

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D)
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D)

Students are heading back to the classroom, and with the cost of after school programs rising, Salt Lake County is looking for different ways to bring in more resources. Mayor Ben McAdams started the first of many “#BenChats” on Twitter today to discuss this, and many more, education related issues.

“Technology and social media offer innovative ways for me and the community to stay in touch, and I want to take advantage of that,” said Mayor McAdams. “This Twitter Chat is just another way for me to be accessible to members of the public.”

The discussions ranged from a parent’s involvement in their child’s education, to the county’s implementation of programs designed to improve education resources for low-income and minority students. McAdams spoke specifically of the recent public/private partnership the county entered into with the United Way and private industry.

While it’s hard to lay out detailed policy in Twitter’s 140 character limit, the Mayor talked about Salt Lake County’s plan to use $4.6 million from Goldman Sachs to invest in early education. When asked by Utah Political Capitol who will pay for such programs, McAdams tweetwed that the “…Private sector [will pay]. Investors put up $$$. Don’t get pd [sic] back unless results are achieved & savings occur. No-risk to taxpayers…”

An idea originally proposed by Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan), the plan would use private money to fund after-school programs for at-risk youth. Proponents of the plan say the investors ease the strain put on the special education budgets, saving money for the schools. Investors make money by raising the achievement level of the students and potentially receiving a portion of the school’s budget surplus. Osmond was ultimately unsuccessful in his attempt to pass such legislation.

This was the first of an expected series of Twitter chats from McAdams. For more information on the mayors education plan click here.

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