Obama transgender directive leads Utah County school board members to push for budget free of $40M in federal funds
Elected leaders of Utah County's biggest school system will consider whether their district can survive the coming year without roughly $40 million in federal money — a reaction to broader protections for transgender students recently issued by the U.S. Department of Education.
The Alpine School District Board of Education stopped short of rejecting the federal funding outright as three board members wrote they would in a May letter to state leaders. The letter was a response to federal instruction for schools to allow transgender students to use the restrooms aligning with their gender identities. Refusing the money, some board members noted at their monthly meeting Tuesday evening, would block Alpine residents from reaping the benefits of their federal tax payments.
"I would like us to not feel like we are slaves to the federal dollars," Wendy Hart told fellow board members. "I'm just looking for us to have a budget in the wings so we know what we're up against."
Board members Hart, Paula Hill and Brian Halladay wrote last month that they would prefer to risk losing the $40 million — or preemptively refuse it — rather than comply with the new federal directive to allow transgender students to choose which bathrooms they enter.