Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, urged Congress this week to revamp educational funding formulas that give less money per child in Utah than any other state.
In a speech on the House floor, Owens said he was shocked by findings in an Education Department study released last week - which was ordered by Congress because of an amendment he pushed in 1988.It said Utah students receive $130.26 per child a year in federal aid - dead last among the states, and $20 a child lower than the next lowest state. The national average is $207.86.
"This shocking study blatantly shows that the formulas used today for disbursing federal education funding are not equitable in any manner or degree. As we in Utah suspected, Utah falls last in overall federal funding (per student)," he said.
"This is an outrage," he added. "Over one-third of Utah's population is below the age of 18. Utah is increasingly becoming a source of skilled workers for the rest of the nation's future. Yet our share of federal funding for education is dead last."
He urged Congress to correct inequities in present funding systems, and noted a second phase of the Education Department study is under way to look at alternatives.
"All students deserve an equitable quality education without discrimination based on institutional inequities," he said.