The Issues


"I have known Dean both professionally, politically, and personally for years and I know that he will be a great asset to the district and will represent us well. We'll do more than well to have him representing us."

Learn More


The Background

Education funding is critically important to Utah.  There are economic benefits to adequately funding our educational system - it's an investment into our future and the future of our children.  Education provides the foundation for most careers and for the future success of individuals in our society.  

Utah has historically done extraordinarily well with much less than other states throughout the country.  Our outcomes are better by most standards and measures that can be compared.  Utah has a work ethic and high parental involvement that allows it to excel.  However, the reality is that having a good educational system also requires adequate funding.  There is no question Utah does more with less.  In the chart immediately below according to the legislative fiscal analyst - per pupil spending in Utah is below every other state in the country.   

Per pupil spending

Impact of Education on Society is Tremendous

The impact of education on individual lives and on society as a whole goes far beyond the ability to read and write.  According to research conducted for the Utah Legislature by the Cicero Group (parent company to Dan Jones and Associates) education played a role in many aspects of a person's quality of life.  Income levels were higher, job satisfaction was better, and even the success of ones children were all positively impacted by education.  Specifically they looked at the difference between individuals who had acquired a graduate degree of some kind versus those who had not.   

Additionally individuals without a degree or certificate are more than twice as likely to have utilized Medicaid, WIC, and CHIP in the last five years, and over three times as likely to have utilized food stamps.

Source: The Cicero Group, "Prosperity 2020 / It Starts With Education." July 2011.

The Challenge of Doing More

The per pupil spending in Utah is low, but that figure also has to be taken in context with another fact - Utah has more children than anyplace else in the country.  We have some of the largest family sizes anywhere.  We celebrate that and would not have it any other way.  Nonetheless, when you combine average household incomes with more children per household the percent of income that is spent on education is 8% above the national averages (see chart below).    

Spending per income

The Solutions:

Education funding is critically important to Utah and we need more.  Raising taxes is not an option.  I suggest the following:

1) Prioritize education - if we invest in education most other things we want from government can flow from there.  A well educated society can be more productive in their jobs, they can create jobs, they can be contributing members of society, we can in short - grow our economy.

2) Grow the economy - when the economy grows we have more revenue that can be spent on essential services as well as investing more into our future.  To grow the economy we need a favorable tax base and government needs to stay out of the way of the private sector.

3) Focus on value add spending - not all dollars sent to public education will be spent the same way.  We need to look for areas where we get the most "bang for our buck."  Areas that will create efficiencies, allow us to reduce class sizes, help teachers get the aid that they deserve and need.  

4) School trust lands - as much as possible we need to explore areas we can get additional revenue for education and one place where Utah is entitled to more is from the trust lands dedicated to the state for education support.  We need to assure that we don't have Federal intrusions into those lands and that we get fair market value for their use.