The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour

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 constitutional Amendment G that went before Utah voters in November and passed with 54 percent voting in favor.

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. These changes will go into effect now that Utah voters have approved Amendment G, which expands income tax revenue—currently earmarked solely for education—to include services for children and adults with disabilities. However, this has been criticized by education advocates for diluting the educational funding earmark, potentially leading to future cuts to public education.

This is concerning because 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. This places Utah well below the national average of between $12,000 to $13,000 per student and is only a portion of the $24,000 spent per student in New York, the highest in the nation.

This week’s panel discusses Utah’s low per-pupil spending, the constitutional amendment changing the income tax earmark and the ramifications now that it has passed. This week’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.

The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour
The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour is a weekly program featuring forums on local, national, and international issues important to people living in Utah. The program airs every Wednesday at 10 AM and Saturday at 9 AM. Hosted by Anthony Scoma, the program highlights and contextualizes the forums presented by the Hinckley Institute of Politics every fall and spring semester at the University of Utah. Produced by KCPW Studios
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