Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Editorial: Utah education funds barely keep up with the need

Status quo maintained — again

First Published Mar 14 2014 06:05 pm • Last Updated Mar 14 2014 06:05 pm

While Utah’s colleges and universities had many of their budget wishes granted by the state Legislature, public education — kindergarten through 12th grade — will continue shortchanged, as it has for years, with little to no additional funding.

In the legislative session just ended, a huge amount of money — accounting for nearly half the state budget — was allocated to public education. But, although lawmakers like to boast about their commitment to schools, additional money will, again, merely fund basic education for more than 10,000 additional students expected next year and mandated expenditures such as employee health and retirement funds.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The reality is that Utah’s birth rate — highest in the nation — and influx of new residents with children mean that nothing much will change for education in Utah until legislators admit the need for additional sources of revenue.

Utah’s place at the bottom among the states for per-pupil spending will remain ours alone, and the growing gap between Utah and the state in the next-lowest spot will continue to grow. House Speaker Becky Lockhart, after 16 years in office, should have understood that fact, but instead attempted to find a whopping $200 million to $300 million somewhere in the budget for her pet school technology initiative.

The money simply isn’t there, as she discovered when the Senate rightly refused to move funds from other essential departments to the education fund as she demanded. Senate leadership said, correctly, that a tax increase would be needed to come up with that much.

And increased revenue is exactly what is needed, not necessarily to put digital devices in every student’s hands but to provide better education for all children, to boost readiness of preschoolers, help the 25 percent who don’t graduate from high school and better prepare all students for college and careers.

But, while the Legislature committed only to stand by the status quo for public ed, it allocated an additional $50 million to help higher education institutions, particularly Utah’s open-access colleges and universities, make degrees and certificates more affordable.

Salt Lake Community College and Utah Valley University are the top beneficiaries of the upcoming fiscal-year budget. Although tuition at Utah’s large research universities is near the national average, state support of those schools is not. This move will help make those schools more competitive.

Weber State University, Utah State and Snow College will receive capital funding for much-needed new buildings.

Overall, education fared better this year than during the Great Recession but not as well as it should.


story continues below
story continues below



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.