Report Says Utah Cut Per-Pupil Spending More than 26 Other States During Downturn

(KCPW News) While Utah is increasing its per-pupil education spending by $40 this school year, adjusted for inflation, it’s still down by $372 since 2008, according to a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. That amounts to an 8.1 percent cut, which is worse than 26 other states. Utah also consistently ranks last in per-pupil spending among all states.

“I think Utah needs to start talking about raising revenue. We have gone from at least since before the recession without taking any serious measures to raise revenue,” says Allison Rowland, Director of Research and Budget at Voices for Utah Children. “We’ve got to broach that topic.”

She says there’s only so much the state can squeeze out of an underfunded system before it starts falling apart.

“We have to understand that in a changing world, we need to change some of our strategies,” says Rowland. “We cannot continue to do the same thing over and over and think that we can get by on the cheap.”

Arizona saw the biggest cut in per-pupil spending at 21.8 percent, the report says. 13 states actually raised spending during the economic downturn, with North Dakota leading the way at more than 28 percent.