The cost of administration in the state's education system may be higher than many Utahns realize, according to new figures released by the Utah Foundation, a local research group.

For example, one of every 17 dollars that Utahns spent on education during the past fiscal year went for the state Office of Education, which oversees public elementary and secondary education. Its $101 million budget accounted for 6 percent of all state and local education spending, the group said.To put that in context, it is just $1.5 million more than the combined total budgets of the state's seven colleges: College of Eastern Utah, Dixie, Salt Lake Community College, Snow, Southern Utah State, Utah Valley Community College and Weber State.

Figures from the foundation also provide a close look at the percentage of taxpayers' money that is used for other specific educational functions and how much of total state and local budgets go for education.

For example, the combined spending by the state and local school boards for education in 1986-87 was $1.6 billion. That was 42.3 percent of all spending by state and local governments. That is higher than the national average of spending only 34.8 percent of state and local budgets for education.

Figures showed that 80.2 percent of last year's education money went to elementary and secondary public education, while 19.8 percent went to higher education.

As expected, current expenses for Utah's public schools accounted for the largest percentage spent in one area $917 million or 55.8 percent of the total. Capital-outlay money totaled $116 million or 7.1 percent, while school food services totaled $60 million, or 3.6 percent.

State-operated schools such as area vocational schools, skill centers and the schools for the deaf and blind accounted for 2.2 percent or $37 million.

In higher education, the University of Utah accounted for $143 million, or 8.7 percent of the total, with 4.7 percent or $77 million going to Utah State University. The state's colleges got a total of 6.2 percent or $102 million, with more than a third of that amount $38 million going to Weber State College.

The report also shows that the state Board of Regents which oversees and administers the state's higher education system spent $3.1 million, or 0.2 percent of all money spent on education in the state.