Letter: A public school student costs Utah $4,280 per year. Why should voucher recipients get $8,000?

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Students and teachers from East High School, walk out of school to protest the HB15 voucher bill, on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023.

Now that the Utah Legislature is in session, I like(?) to follow the funding for public education.

What most caught my attention first this year was that each approved voucher student receives $8,000. In regular public education that would be called the WPU (Weighted Pupil Units).

So I looked at the WPU information provided by the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, dated Jan. 17. On Page 7 of that site, WPU Value History, one finds that the WPU for our regular public schools is only $4,280 for 2024 (a 6% increase from last year). So regular voucher programs will receive 87% more for WPU than regular public education programs this school year.

I don’t have a problem with someone taking his/her children out of the regular public education system to attend a voucher system, but I don’t believe it is right to spend more public taxes for those students than for students in regular public schools. I wish our legislators would see this and correct the situation. But I doubt that will happen. Some people argue that regular public education needs competition with other education systems to provide incentive to improve. But if that is the case, the competition should be with equal financial support.

Fred Ash, Sandy

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