View the complete 2015 School Spending Report here.
The Utah Taxpayers Association has released its 2015 School Spending Report, which details school district and charter school spending during the 2013-2014 fiscal year. All spending data is collected from the Utah State Office of Education and is presented on a per-student basis. Below are a few of the interesting trends and insights from this year’s report.
Once again, Alpine School District has the highest enrollment with over 72,000 students. The school district with the lowest enrollment is Daggett, with only 194 students. Across Utah, 557,651 students are enrolled in district schools and 54,900 students attend charter schools.
Daggett School District spends a staggering $22,683 per student, whereas the lowest per-student spending district, Morgan, only spends $6,266 per student. Despite having the lowest per-student spending in the state, Morgan School District still falls fairly close to the statewide district average of $7,647. Daggett, along with some of the other high per-student spending districts, is a clear outlier. This is likely because of the fixed costs of education
Higher enrollment generally correlates with lower district spending per student, and lower enrollment correlates with higher district spending per student. However, this is not a reflection of a relatively better or worse education for students, but rather is a result of the fact that a school district with low enrollment has few students across which to spread the fixed costs of education. A schoolhouse has to provide the same heating and power regardless of whether 100 students attend or 1,000 students attend. It is mathematics that creates some of the per-student spending disparity between high enrollment and low enrollment school districts – not necessarily education value.
An important factor in understanding some of the disparity between school districts’ per-student spending is the property tax base in the district. School districts with high property values (such as Park City, Rich, Daggett and So. Summit) generate significantly more revenue from the statewide basic property tax levy than school districts with low assessed valuation per student (such as So. Sanpete and Nebo).
In school districts with low property values, the state provides assistance from the state income tax to help school districts reach a minimum funding level. This can be seen in the local/state/federal revenue split. Park City school district, with high property values, receives 91% of its funding from local sources, whereas So. Sanpete with a low property tax base, is only able to provide 22% of its total revenue from local sources.
Teachers in Park City school district are, on average, the highest paid in Utah at $97,073 (including salary and benefits). Tooele district has the lowest average teacher earnings at $64,436.
There is also a significant disparity between teacher salaries and administration salaries in several school districts. Nebo School District pays school administrators more than double what teachers are paid, and Jordan and Alpine School Districts pay administrators nearly double what teachers in the district receive.
To see how your school district compares with other school districts and charter schools in Utah, view the complete 2015 School Spending Report here.