Informed Decisions 2020: Funding Public Education in Utah

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour — This week on the program, we air an Informed Decisions 2020 panel on how Utah funds public education and the constitutional amendment, S.J.R. 9 (Amendment G), going before Utah voters on the November ballot.

Earlier this year, Utah legislators passed H.B. 357, which promised education funding to match inflation and student growth, expanded use of revenue raised through capital levies, and additional rainy day funds. However, these changes will only go into effect if Utah voters approve S.J.R. 9 (Amendment G), which expands income tax revenue—currently earmarked solely for education—to include services for children and people with disabilities.

Utah has ranked last nationally in per-pupil spending for over two decades. According to 2018 data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah allocates just $7,628 per student, falling just behind Idaho at $7,771. This places Utah well below the national average of $12,612 per student and is only a portion of the $24,040 spent per student in New York, the highest in the nation.

Today’s panel discusses Utah’s low per-pupil spending, the constitutional amendment changing the income tax earmark and the ramifications if it passes the November ballot. Today’s panel includes Andrea Brandley, research associate at the Gardner Policy Institute; Sydnee Dickson, state superintendent of public education; Richard Kendell, former commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education; Andrea Rorrer, director of the Utah Education Policy Center; and Rep. Steve Eliason, member of the Utah legislature. The panel is moderated by Natalie Gochnour, Director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

This forum was put on in partnership with the Gardner Policy Institute and the Alumni Association at the University of Utah.

This forum was recorded on September 9, 2020.

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