Comments about ‘Utah last in U.S. in spending per pupil — again’

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Published: Tuesday, June 29 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

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This entire situation of school funding is counter-intuitive. Given Utah is dead last in funding, maintains the dubious honor as the nation's largest class sizes, continues to demonstrate poor (relative) scores nation wide - thus necessitating the unspoken social promotion rampant in middle/high school - why does the state tax structure allow those who most utilize these resources pay the least fair share? Instead of tax breaks for those with larger families they should be paying more in taxes for education, etc. When I hear the incessant whining about how the poor (or whomever) live off the public dole the double-think about the existing tax structure is incredibly self-serving. If the professed 'family-value' legislature were honest they'd restructure the code to be more equitable, sin-tax fast-food and soda and then eliminate the sales tax on food. The surplus in revenue would go a long way in providing the resources necessary to initiate an education system of which the children deserve.

Steven S Jarvis


Squeezing a grape results in very little juice. Families, particularly the larger ones don't pay much in taxes because they have no money after clothing, feeding and sheltering their brood. Some don't pay a dime at all.

Large families don't have money to burn. Even when both parents work, there are many families that get by only with government help. If we were to place a greater tax burden on these families, they would require more government help. Doing so seems counter-intuitive.


This isn't news to anyone that follows and cares about public education.


Anger! This just makes me so mad. Utah can complain about taxes all they want, but we still don't spend for education. Come on, ranking 41 in the nation in per $1000 spent. This shows our communities, population, and legislature cares little about students.

Utah is pathetic and should never say they care about families or kids. They care about money. I'm so sick of hearing this.

Money doesn't mean a better education, but a lack of it means a pathetic education- you get what you pay for. The poor kids of this state.


If Utah and Idaho weren't so anti-intellectual, more money might be allocated to education.

We clearly need to do a better job in sex education as well.

I agree with Jasper, let's tax junk food and soda pop to help fund education. The poor don't need those things to survive, so it's a fair tax; whereas taxing real food is not ethical.


ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This makes me so mad!


Utah's spending per pupil lowest--again.

What they didn't mention: Utah's test scores, graduation rates, and college attendance rates are above average--again. Crime and poverty rates below average--again.

How can this be? What is so different about Utah? I think we all know the very non-PC answer to that.


Now compare this data with the per income and taxes that Utah citizens pay for education. This per pupil spending data is unrealistic when you consider that taxes for education become general fund spending money. Do they also include all the funds diverted from education to fund developers, UTA, and commercial loans? Then there is the waste in building $20 million dollar schools that will collapse in a minor earthquake. Per pupil spending in Utah is a fictitious and corrupt ridden report.

Then add to that fact that 20% of students in our schools are illegal foreign nationals who don't pay taxes, sales or income. They are living on welfare and food stamps provided tax free to them, at an astonishing $40,000 of tax benefits a year to every one of them. That's a pretty comfortable life for an illegal who is seeking a better way of life and doesn't have to work or pay taxes for it. Most states don't fund foreign national forces occupying their state either.

These reports are made and designed to show that we must be taxed more to fund education waste.

Rick for Truth

Is Utah is first for Home schooling? It would be nice to know if Utah families also keep more of their children home and out of the public school system than any other state. As a HS math teacher I can say that intense family involvement in student daily life combined with a strong personal work ethic in our students are the main contributors for keeping are student scores out of the gutter and not the poor dollar per student ratio. Yes we could use a higher spending contribution but managing that contribution must be a highest priority. In today’s economic environment we must continue to do the best we can with the little we have.

Phil Allred

Utahns should be celebrating. Here in NY, taxes are triple those in Utah, with lower success in education.


Dead last in spending.

Thats OK because the Utah teachers I know have something NO AMOUNT OF MONEY COULD EVER BUY: Dedicated, passionate, caring for their students.

The ones I know teach because they love teaching, and they love the incredible influence for good they have on their students.

Wouldn't you rather have great teachers like that--than ones who are focused on the $$$$??????


I would like to see a side-by-side article on results.

You can say that Utah doesn't care about kids, you can say that Utah doesn't care about teachers, but you sound like a whining employee who claims that the corporate across the street is so much better because the employees make another dollar an hour.

No matter what industry or organization you discuss, you have to talk ROI- Return on Investment. What would that return be in education? Graduation rate, college acceptance/scholarships, SAT/ACT scores, etc. Let's see how Utah ranks in those areas and THEN see if there's a problem with spending in relation to ROI.

Looking at the states with the highest funding, I would bet that many of them are at the opposite end of the chart when it comes to results. They spend the most but get some of the lowest outcomes. Money doesn't solve a problem, and in Utah's case, the lack of money doesn't cause a problem. It's just something people complain about with a belief that the grass is greener on the other side of the chart.


So, New York has the brightest students, the highest graduation rate, and the most qualifying for higher education? Not!
Per pupil spending is a falacious statistic propagated to create teacher dissatisfaction and try to excuse such policies as "no child left behind". Like government per se, it is not how much money is spent.. Just how it is spent.


I believe our problem is systemic. I believe careful evaluation would reveal that many in the upper levels of administration in our state education system have a "Mr. English" syndrome; they are compensated well above anyone else.

There is absolutely no value in trying to win the nation's competition of dollars spent per student.

My hat is off to the great teachers we have in our school system, but the administration folks need to be taken to the wood shed. A good house cleaning at the top would result in a dramatic change in classroom size and available dollars to directly educate our children.

James A

I am so tired of these articles and the assumptions drawn from them. The thinking goes something like this: more money for students = smarter students. That seems logical but is that what is happening? How strong is the correlation between dollars spent and academic achievement? In this very article we read that despite having the lowest per pupil spending Utah does not have the lowest academic achievement. It appears that at least in Utah the assumption does not hold. Why? What about historical spending per student. A quick internet search seems to show that from 1994 to 2004 on avg. per student spending increased by almost 24%. So have our kids improved academic scores by 24%? Just food for thought...

Nan BW

Why do we have such a fixation on the idea that spending more money on education improves it? There is an incredible waste of supplies in the schools, many of which aren't needed to provide an education in the first place. There are also too many high paid administrators who don't do enough work to justify their salaries.

I spent several years in education in a state that spends more on education, via federal financial assistance, and the students were less prepared (according to stats) there than in Utah. Better use of resources is one solution. Focusing on improving basic skills rather than trying to provide frills than have little to do with learning would also help.


The real message here is that people are still using the wrong measuring stick. If every state in the country doubled their per pupil spending today (including Utah), Utah would still be in last place! Many of the states that spend far more than Utah have worse educational systems.


How about a few statistics on performance. Not one reference to a statistic about how well (or poorly) our educators did?

Unless we are dead last in performance, I'd have to say that anecdotaly we must be getting more for our money than New York.

You can scream like the Greeks, but you still can't squeeze money out of an economy that doesn't have it.


This is a very negative story with very little talk about where our students stand nationally in educational skills. Granted it is a sad thing that we spend so little on our schools, but lets see where we are in math, science, reading and other skills. Let's look at the big picture and then see where we can make improve things. New York spends the most and I use to live there and I will tell you, they do NOT get their monies worth there. The saddest place is by far the south.


One glaring omission: How does Utah compare in standardized test scores? What about in other indicators of academic success, such as percentage of students that finish high school or go to college?

The article makes it sound like the goal is to spend money. How much money we spend is significant in two ways: 1) academic results produced, which is a matter of serving students' needs, and 2) salaries, which is a matter of serving teachers' needs. That may or may not correlate directly to the amount we spend.

For example, one of the top spenders is D.C. Are teachers or students better off there than in Utah?

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