Utah 10th for percentage of budget spent on education

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  • RSL1
    July 18, 2010 11:02 a.m.

    We have lots of kids (nontaxpayers) and not very many adults (taxpayers). We are always going to spend less than states where that is the opposite. I work in education and I always wish I had more to spend. However, I understand the economics. I am proud of our state as a whole on how we spend our taxpayer money. We have to pay for roads, police, fire, education, government administration, etc. Yet, unlike the federal government we balance our budget and our leaving our grandchildren with the opportunity to have the same quality of living. The federal government and many states are an embarrassment with the way they spend money.

  • the truth
    July 15, 2010 7:11 p.m.

    THESE lists are irrelevant,

    THESE comparisons are irrelvant,

    the only relevant thing is finding what is the actual exact cost per pulil for education.

    PLease enough with silly lists.

    LIsts only enocourage more spending and more taxation,

    and DOES NOT focus on waht is of real importance,

    WHAT is the actual proper amount to spend?

    WHAT is the exact dollar figure does take to educate one student?

  • UtahHAL
    July 15, 2010 4:27 p.m.

    The public education figures included in this report contain higher education among other expenditures. If you separate the numbers, elementary and secondary education are at a lower percentage than they were in the 1990's, and is also below the 2008 US average. Utah’s policy makers need to fund elementary and secondary public education at levels that meet the needs of Utah’s children.

    A fair funding system:

    Can reduce class sizes to a level that allows deeper assessment and assistance to students

    Is key to better teacher quality by improving salaries and working conditions

    Can pay for more targeted specialists (math, writing, etc)

    The revenues invested in elementary and secondary public education are an investment in our children’s and our states future.

  • utah guy
    July 15, 2010 2:06 p.m.

    @Joe Joe

    "...Utah spends the same per student as the top state. Which by the way does not make the that state the top in quality of education."


  • Joe Joe
    July 15, 2010 1:38 p.m.

    Democratic soultion to education funding - Raise taxes by 90% than give all that money to the teachers.

    I'm not sure it will make the teachers teach any better but at tleast they will be happy because Utah spends the same per student as the top state. Which by the way does not make the that state the top in quality of education.

  • The Rock
    July 15, 2010 12:14 p.m.

    Public schools spend thousands per student. In Washington state where I live they spend over $9,000 per child per year. If they have an average class size of 30 then they spend $270,000 per classroom.

    I defy anyone to spend that much money on 30 kids wisely.

    I homeschooled my children. Homeschooled children test in the 80th to 90th percentile (public schools are at the 50th percentile by definition). You can purchase excellent homeschool curriculum for under $100 (A2 Curriculum). It covers k-12 and everyone in the family can use it. Homeschooling methods are more effective than public school (Read "A Thomas Jefferson Education") and it costs far less.

    My point is that spending does not translate to better education, just richer school administrators and more powerful teachers unions.

  • Jash
    July 15, 2010 11:55 a.m.

    Utah should move to the voucher system and require proof of legal residency to obtain vouchers.

    Let the Fed's pay for the children of illegal aliens. After all, according to the recent law suit states do not have the authority to deal with illegals.

  • Not_Scared
    July 15, 2010 11:38 a.m.

    Duh. Utah has more children.

    scambuster | 11:21 a.m Good point!

  • cbasiefan
    July 15, 2010 11:28 a.m.

    There are too many factors that go into a child's education to blame just one item like spending. You have to look at the child's home life, social-economic status, friends, teachers dedication, teachers stress levels, the school's commitment to each student, how the teacher works with the parent and the student, how well the district spends it's money, the types of programs the district offers, the overall funding the district receives, how much the state is funding education, how professional the state treats educators and so on and so on.

    This is a different culture of students we are dealing with. Many of them are not motivated. They expect the world to be handed to them. And when it's not, they give up. You cannot force someone to be motivated and one persons influence can only go so far. If we want to improve education in Utah, we need to start improving the culture of education of Utah from spending to behavior.

  • scambuster
    July 15, 2010 11:21 a.m.

    This scam is busted: If the entire Utah budget was cut to $10 and the legislature spent $3.36 on education, that would mean Utah would have a percentage of 33.6% of the budget going towards education and I have no doubt that Bramble would still be congratulating himself on a job well done.

  • scambuster
    July 15, 2010 11:17 a.m.

    Percentages can be very misleading. Here is an example. Let us say that the Utah Legislature decided to cut the state budget in half and therefore taxes in half, meaning every program would be cut in half. That would mean Utah would still spend the same percentage towards education but the per pupil funding would be cut in half. Does that sound like a commitment to education? No. The most important number in determining commitment to education is the per pupil funding in which Utah is dead, dead last.

  • scambuster
    July 15, 2010 11:11 a.m.

    Nicely spun Bramble, but Utah should be number one on the list given the number of students we have and the supposed strong family values. The fact that nine other states outspend Utah and have far fewer students to contend with shows a lack of commitment to education.

  • Orem Parent
    July 15, 2010 10:19 a.m.

    Spin it how you like Bramble.

    Utah could be achieving so much more with only a little bit more funding.

    Instead our legislators sit back and say, "see, we are getting more bang for our buck."

    We could be leading the nation in all categories for education but we would rather repave another road instead of making our state great.

  • Buster
    July 15, 2010 9:54 a.m.

    Spending a third of our budget on our children's educational future is meaningless when we spend last in the nation on per pupil spending. Utah is definately not the poorest state in the nation.


    "Sen. Curtis S. Bramble, R-Provo, chairs the Senate Education Committee and said the recent study is consistent with how he and his colleagues approach education.

    "It demonstrates that Utah has a high level of commitment to education," Bramble said."


    No, having per pupil spending last in the Nation shows your commitment to education, a fact that won't be lost on this voter every November until it changes.

    If this is consistent with how he and his colleagues approach education, then we need to get rid of the incumbents, every last one of them.

  • Buster
    July 15, 2010 9:40 a.m.

    procuradorfiscal | 6:44 a.m. July 15, 2010
    "It'll be interesting to see how the educators' trade union -- the UEA -- spins this into a bad news story."

    Utah is a Right to Work State. It is not a Union, but an association. The Association is weak in Utah.
    ezfisher | 8:29 a.m. July 15, 2010
    "The problem is not illegals or low spending on education... Smaller class sizes have little effect on learning."

    Regarless of your expert analysis, most data shows student success in smaller classroom. And data shows more failing students at schools where the students come from a lower socio-economic background.

    Both your assertions fall flat in any valid research you find on the subject.

    (Asserting that a minority student is an illegal alien is stereotyping.)

  • Rick for Truth
    July 15, 2010 8:56 a.m.

    33% of little to miniscule is nothing to be boasting over.

  • Winglish
    July 15, 2010 8:47 a.m.

    It's time to eliminate the per-child tax deduction.

    "It demonstrates that Utah has a high level of commitment to education," Bramble said.

    No, it does nothing of the sort, Curt. It shows a pathetically low level of commitment to education and a high level of commitment to bedroom activities that produce offspring. That's all.

  • ezfisher
    July 15, 2010 8:29 a.m.

    The problem is not illegals or low spending on education. We seem to enjoy blaming someone else or some outside influence for our problems. Certainly more money would be nice, but what are we doing now with what we have? Smaller class sizes have little effect on learning. The greatest effect on whether your child learns is what you do. If you do not take an interest in your child's learning, it doesn't matter what the state does.
    For those blaming the illegals, my wife teaches in an elementary school which is predominantly minority children. Some probably undocumented. The majority of the minority children are eager to learn and do well. Many of the white kids make little effort, and waste their time at school. The difference is that the parents of the hispanic kids want their children to learn and actively participate at home. The parents of the white kids are too high to help or simply do not care. Taking color and legal status out of the equation, who would you be more inclined to help get an education?

  • open minded
    July 15, 2010 8:06 a.m.

    Here's some spin for you people that hate public ed.
    1. 10 years ago education was above 40% of Utah's budget now, according to this article, it is only 33%. That is a serious drop in percentage of spending for education.
    2. Utah has one of the leanest state budgets in the nation. Our conservative legislature hates government spending and so even though they may rank 10th in percentage of budget for education, the overall budget is crazy low already- hence the $5,765 per pupil spending.
    3. Utah ranks in the top 5 for child to adult ratio. Utah's budget should have a huge percentage of its budget going to children (education). So the percentage data is meaningless here.
    4. Utah's test score ratings have been dropping over the last decade. Clearly the lack of funding in education is affecting that.
    5. Utah has the largest class sizes in the nation- by a lot. Again a lack of spending.
    6. Utah parents have lots of kids but don't want to pay the taxes to educate them.

    Utah wants a champagne education on a beer budget- cheap champagne is nasty stuff.

  • Reason
    July 15, 2010 8:00 a.m.

    It's interesting that Bramble and his pals in the Senate and house can talk about their commitment to education. Over the past 12 years they have amended the constitution to allow the education fund to be diverted to other programs. Then, to gain more votes (and to pay back their corporate sponsors)changed the tax structure to give big business and the rich tax breaks. And to top it off they altered the income tax structure to reduce even more funding to education. Sound to me like they have systematically set public education up for failure so that they can push through vouchers to save us from our failing education system.

  • utah guy
    July 15, 2010 7:23 a.m.


    My wife is teacher in an elementary school that has over 1,100 students and the overwhelming (over 95%) majority of students appear to be from legal families. It is large families who value their boats and vacations over their children's education.

  • blue dot!
    July 15, 2010 7:10 a.m.

    We don't invest enough into our greatest resource; the kids.

    There are plenty of people who tell others not to have more kids if they can't afford them. As a state we produce more kids than we can properly afford to educate.

    Spin the stats how you want. We spend less to educate each kid than any other state by far. Educational efficiency can only do so much to try to bridge the gap.

  • procuradorfiscal
    July 15, 2010 6:44 a.m.

    It'll be interesting to see how the educators' trade union -- the UEA -- spins this into a bad news story.

  • raybies
    July 15, 2010 6:38 a.m.

    @pharmacist: the stupidest thing we could do as a country is stop educating the children of illegal immigrants. do you honestly want them roaming the streets, truant, during the hours in which these kids could be learning how to better be a part of the mainstream? Why not force them all into gangs now?

    I'm curious how these numbers pan out "per child spending" rather than as a percentage of state budget. I think Utah has different priorities than other states, and thus it should reflect upon the state's spending priorities. We simply can't have to as high a degree as others the same number of other state-run entitlements and services, due to the family orientation of this state. (And that's cool with me.)

  • The Big One
    July 15, 2010 6:25 a.m.

    6000 bucks per kid and this is all we get, the system is broken.

  • fairfield
    July 15, 2010 5:42 a.m.

    For my money, being tenth in anything to do with education is not good -- we should be number one. And we are #51 our of 51.

    This has been true for a long time, but our standing on the performance side -- which was once very strong -- is starting to slide. We are no longer ranked highly in numbers of high school graduates, college attendance, test performance, and several other areas.

    That's simply not acceptable. Utah was number one years ago, and now it's fallen. The Republican leadership, Bramble and others, are okay with that because their objective is to see a hue and cry about this issue and then solve it with a voucher system which will complete destroy educational standards for the non-elite, but the elite will get what they want -- better education for their own children at the expense of the greater public.

    The answer is a whole new legislature. Vote the scoundrels (Bramble et al) out!

  • My2Cents
    July 15, 2010 5:36 a.m.

    This report only proves how inaccurate that per pupil spending is calculated by educators. Perhaps these organizations should get together and all use the same information and methods of calculating education funds. Perhaps in might even reveal how much of Utah's education funds are diverted to developers and UTA in non education spending.

    Utah families size is not as important as how education funds are spent. Tens of millions of dollars of these funds are used outside of education and called long term investment spending. Since when are education funds and investment fund?

    Then also there is the 20% of students who are illegal who don't pay taxes at all yet expect that schools also be day care centers for their unwanted children.

    One other statistic that this report failed to reveal is population to tax ratio for education. Many of the other states ahead of Utah has more than twice the population of Utah and the tax burden is lower. Only 53% of Utahan's, a figure established by tax departments, pay taxes so the burden is high on working citizens.

  • therev
    July 15, 2010 3:12 a.m.

    Proves again, figures lie and liers figure...

  • Oatmeal
    July 15, 2010 3:11 a.m.

    Utahans choose to produce large families and then not pay to educate their children. THAT is the problem.

  • Joe Moe
    July 15, 2010 12:15 a.m.

    @abr2116 9:39

    Regarding "stay-at-home moms" being an antiquated idea, might I toss in: your perspective is equally skewed, just on the other end of reality. I come from a family of four boys, and three have wives that do not work. The one that does have a job started working because her husband lost his job and is still searching, but she didn't before. We are firmly in the lower-middle class, too...by no means rich. We feel fortunate to be able to do this, and understand that many can't, and some don't want to if they could. Although, now that I'm on that soapbox, I'm sure more could if they could stand to have less house, less car, less cell phone packages, etc., etc., and -- interestingly -- maybe less children?

  • abr2116
    July 14, 2010 9:39 p.m.

    If you think that it is 'our culture' to have the man work and the woman stay home with the family you are a still living in the 80s. In my Utah neighborhood-100% LDS- in small town Utah, there are ZERO stay at home moms on the street (17 homes). The stay at home mom is an antiquated notion even in Utah!

    Why is it a bad idea to ask those with big families to pay more? Those who choose to have big families, it is a choice after all, should be expected to provide for their children. Someone has to pay for educating your children, why not you? Consequences for actions encourages responsible behavior.

  • satch
    July 14, 2010 9:01 p.m.

    Regardless of how Bramble spins it. Utah still only ranks 41st in % of money per $1000 that goes toward education and dead last in spending again.

    It would have to spend 20% more just to tie for last. NO Mr. Bramble, Utah is not committed to children or education. SPIN THAT?

    Until Utah's legislators and population get fed up nothing will change.

  • Oilcan
    July 14, 2010 8:11 p.m.

    True, this is about demographics more than anything else.

    It is our culture to have large families. And, it is our culture to have the man work while the woman stays at home. So there is only one income for as many as five or six kids, while in other states there may be two income earners for one or two kids.

    It's our own fault. We demand large families and only one parent to work.

  • B
    July 14, 2010 7:47 p.m.

    RE Lance.LeVar

    So how much do you propose? And what would you cut first to fund education? Is there an area of the budget we are spending too much money on that could be better spent in education?

    A solution has been propose(and shot down by state educators) to allow the use of education vouchers. It seems like there is only ONE solution in the minds of the education establishment and that is more money.

    So either we tax larger families more (which seems like a bad idea) or we rob from one part of the state budget to give education more.

  • pharmacist
    July 14, 2010 7:12 p.m.

    Just a thought, Utah is considered easy on illegals, and we are educating their children. Perhaps we need to change laws that require proof of citizenship of ALL children going to school in this state. Then our taxes can help our children, not the illegals.

  • Lance.LeVar
    July 14, 2010 6:48 p.m.

    As mentioned, Utah has higher family sizes. When a family chooses to have more children, a larger portion of that family's income should go to the care of their children (unless they just start bringing in more money).

    The fact that we spend a larger portion of our budget on education is a non-issue. We, as a state, have chosen to have large families. We now bear the responsibility to fund their education at the cost of other areas of the budget.

  • Oilcan
    July 14, 2010 6:34 p.m.

    Utah ranks #1 in Education Efficiency, which is a measure of 'bang for the buck'.