Utah Spends Less Now per Pupil on K-12 Education than in 2008

29 September 2016 Written by  

state general funding per student lower than 2008 in 25 statesMost states, including Utah, provide less per-pupil funding for K-12 education now than they did before the 2008-2009 recession, according to a report titled, “Most States Have Cut School Funding, and Some Continue Cutting” by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Their findings echo those reported by Voices for Utah Children in the Utah Children’s Budget Report.

After the recession, property values dropped, making it hard for local school districts to raise significant revenue through local property taxes, but there was an “even steeper fall in state funding.” Meanwhile, the child population continued to grow.

The most recent data, for the 2016 school year, show that 25 states are offering less per-pupil general formula funding that in 2008. (General formula funding is the primary state funding source for schools.) In Utah, general formula funding per student has dropped by 9% since 2008. Only seven other states had a bigger drop in general formula funding than Utah.

But can’t we just do more with less? The authors point out that the data suggest otherwise:

“As common sense would suggest, money matters for educational outcomes. For instance, poor children who attend better-funded schools are more likely to complete high school and have higher earnings and lower poverty rates in adulthood.”


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

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Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

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April Young Bennett 300April Young Bennett, Communications Director, joined the organization in 2014. She received her Master of Public Administration from the University of Arizona and her Bachelor in Community Health Education from Utah State University. Prior to joining Voices for Utah Children, April worked for the Utah Department of Health for over a decade, addressing health disparities among minorities and other underserved Utahns. She completed internships and fellowships with the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy and the U.S. Senate.