Is Utah still last in per-pupil spending?
He also said to dismiss the revenue side would be "ignoring a big effort taxpayers are making in the state."
Stephenson said after taking another look at that census report, he’d clarify that Utah is no longer last in per-pupil revenue but still last in spending.
He also said, however, that Utah has doubled that per-pupil spending, when dollars are adjusted for inflation, since 1976.
Plus, he said Utah is efficient with its education dollars, with lower administrative costs than most other states.
"Money or spending is not a direct reflection of the quality of education," Stephenson said.
Dougall also said the rankings ultimately only mean so much.
"At the end of the day it’s not really how many dollars you spend," Dougall said. "It’s how well you spend the money, that’s what really matters anyway."
Nationally, the average amount spent per student in 2012 was $10,608, according to that census report, with New York spending the most, at $19,552 per pupil.
Utah students score at about the national average on National Assessment of Educational Progress exams in fourth-grade math and reading and eighth-grade math.
Utah students score above the national average in eighth-grade reading and fourth- and eighth-grade science.
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) also tracks per pupil spending per state, and according to NCES, Utah ranked last in the nation for per pupil spending in fiscal year 2011 at $6,326 per pupil.
NCES’ report for fiscal year 2012 is expected at the end of August.