(Photo Credit: Bunch of Losers)
Aren't you proud that Utah beat out Mississippi again?
The Census Bureau analysis of state education funding differs slightly from data from the National Center of Education Statistics released in April. Yet both reports list Utah as last in the nation for spending $5,257 per student in fiscal year 2005. The second-to-last state, Arizona, spent $6,261 per student that year.
The results surprise few policymakers, who've all but given up escaping last place. Members of the Utah State Board of Education, legislators and tax watchdogs say it's nearly impossible for Utah to rival spending in other states. Income taxes from Utah's relatively small and low-paid workforce get stretched paying for the state's large population of school children.
To paraphrase Robert Kennedy/George Bernard Shaw, some see things as they are and ask "why," Utah's education policy makers ask "why bother?"
(as an aside, vouchers will only put the state further behind by definition, but PCE couldn't care less about that)
Here's an example of what this last in the nation standing means for Utah children:
Ogden School District says it's cutting projects to save money.
The school board passed a revised building plan that they say will save $23 million.
Two building projects are being deferred. Those are construction of the district campus elementary school, which should save $11.4 million. And the board voted to hold off on the renovation of Ogden High School's science rooms. That cut another $11.8 million.
Voters approved $95.3 million last June for construction and renovation plans to fix the district's aging school buildings.
That's just buildings, what about arts programs, school trips, books, school supplies, teacher salaries, staff salaries, school buses, etc.?