For FY2011, the Utah Legislature cut about 0.5 percent or $10 million from what public education received in FY2010. However, there is no new funding to educate an estimated 11,000 new students expected next year. The net result is a cut of about 3 percent, still far less than reductions faced by many other departments and agencies. The public education cut will ultimately mean $8 million less for new school buildings, no state money for new library books, the elimination of a science and math program for educators and a 50 percent reduction in teacher-directed classroom supply money.
A major change in the education budget from FY2010 is a shift from one-time to ongoing money. During the downturn in the economy, one-time rainy day and federal stimulus money was used to fill budget shortfalls. In the new FY2011 budget, much of this one-time money was replaced with ongoing funds.
Changes to Utah’s tax policies over the past decade have eroded public education funding by more than $1 billion per year according to a recent report by Utahns for Public Schools. Utah’s “funding effort” for public schools (defined as public education revenues per $1,000 in personal income) has fallen from 7th place in the nation in 1995 to 34th place in 2007, according to research by the nonprofit Utah Foundation. This decline has kept Utah last in per-pupil spending by an ever-increasing margin. The UEA supports legislation that will reverse these trends and provide adequate, stable, long-term public education funding.
A new video shows the connection between taxes, the economy and funding for schools.
Click here to watch the video.