Funding Miscalculation Leads to Resignation of Two State Education Employees

(KCPW News) Two Utah State Office of Education employees have resigned after officials identified a miscalculation in next year’s education budget that resulted in a $25 million  gap. State Superintendent Larry Shumway says the error goes back to November on a spreadsheet formula used to calculate Utah’s minimum school program funding. He says it was a simple mistake, but one that was questioned multiple times during the appropriations process.

“I questioned it. Our appropriations chairs questioned it. Legislative fiscal analysts questioned it. And the response to all of that was an explanation that seemed like it made sense,” he tells KCPW. “The actual error was never identified and that’s probably a more serious problem than the error in the first place.”

Shumway has accepted the resignation of Todd Hauber, Associate Superintendent for Business Services, and Finance Director Larry Newton. He says officials need to have confidence in the information they receive from that division, and a cultural change needs to take place as well.

“There has been perhaps a culture that said we understand this better than anyone else, and so that division seemed to have said we know better, and so accept our explanation,” he said.

Shuwmay says the mistake won’t impact schools. He says the amount falls within the technical margins of error that are considered when the budget is created, adding there are funds from last year that can be carried forward.