According to your Taxpayers Association’s School Spending Report, Utah spends an average of $10,259 per student annually. The annual School Spending Report looks at spending from all 41 school districts and combined charter school expenditures.
The report finds that Utah’s district schools spent $10,236 per student, with 14 school districts spending less than the statewide district average. 23 school districts spent more than $10,000 per student in FY 2020, with four districts spending more than $20,000.
Some districts, such as Rich County School District, have spending that exceed $32,000 annually per student. A major contributing factor in this situation is facility construction. In 2018, voters approved an $8.5 million general obligation bond for upgrades to their existing schools. While this may not sound like much considering the hundreds of millions of dollar GO bonds voters along the Wasatch Front are asked to approve, Rich County School District’s annual total revenue from all sources is just over $10 million. Important to also consider is the enrollment size of the district, which has only 498 students.
Utah’s charter schools lag behind district schools in most spending categories, but charters spent $355 per student more than the 41 districts on average on administration. Looking at administrative expenses, Utah district schools spent $902 per student, whereas charters spent $1,257 annually per student.
Utah’s districts also vary widely with the property tax rates (increments) they impose on their taxpayers. Some school districts, like Park City, levy 51% of the statewide average, while South Sanpete levies 153% above the statewide average. However, Park City and several other districts benefit hugely from their property tax base. Park City, for example, has very high property tax values with many properties not exempt from the primary residential exemption. Therefore, they generate much more revenue from higher-valued property. This allows them to have much lower tax rates than South Sanpete or Tooele, for example.
Additionally, Park City School District has an assessed valuation per student of $3,656,178. Compare that with South Sanpete at $231,116, which only has 1,527 fewer students than Park City.
See how your school district fares, or visit utahtaxpayers.org.