State Auditor reveals where the money goes in public education

A screen shot of what the public education spending dashboard looks like. The interactive website was created by the Office of State Auditor to illustrate where money is being spent in education throughout the state.

LOGAN – Utah State Auditor John Dougall recently released an interactive website that helps illustrate where the money for public education in Utah is spent. Referred to as a spending dashboard, information is displayed visually to identify how each education organization spends its money. It refers to these organizations as Local Education Agencies (both districts and charter schools).

“Public education is the single largest component of Utah’s budget,” Dougall said in a statement. “In Utah, we value our system of public education but taxpayers often question where the money went and how well it was spent.

“During fiscal year 2018, Utahns spent more than $6.7 billion on public education, or approximately $10,500 per student. With our growing student population and increasing demands for educational services, maximizing the use of every dollar spent is essential. This dashboard helps the public better understand education spending, easily seeing where money is being spent and how that has changed over time.”

The State Auditor said the interactive dashboard is part of a larger effort, called Project KIDS, to analyze education spending in Utah.

The information from the audit reveals that the Cache County School District is the largest education agency in the area, with 17,734 students, and with highest overall expenditures: $179,230,848 in the last fiscal year. The smallest student populations are InTech Collegiate High School and Bear River Charter School, both with 165 students, but their average cost per student varies. InTech spends, on average, $10,401 per student while Bear River Charter School spends $8,390.

The school/district that spends the most per student is far and away The Center for Creativity, Discovery and Innovation, spending $28,906. According to data provided by the State Auditor, over 75% of the school’s overall spending goes toward servicing debt. The school is the only one in Cache County that does not dedicate a majority of its spending to instruction. The Providence school first opened its doors in the fall of 2017.

The breakdown of how much each district/school spent in fiscal year 2018 (and in what ways) is broken down below, by size of student body from largest to smallest.

Cache County School District (17,734 students): $179,230,848 spent / average per student: $10,107

  • Instruction: $89,121,317 (49.7% of overall spending)
  • Support Services: $51,583,023 (28.8% of overall spending)
  • Debt Service: $15,690,933 (8.8% of overall spending)
  • Facilities Acquisition & Construction Services: $14,325,745 (8.0% of overall spending)
  • Non-Instructional Services: $8,509,830 (4.7% of overall spending)

Logan City School District (5,537 students): $60,513,155 spent / average per student: $10,929

  • Instruction: $30,703,560 (50.7% of overall spending)
  • Support Services: $13,887,503 (22.9% of overall spending)
  • Facilities Acquisition & Construction Services: $6,377,105 (10.5% of overall spending)
  • Non-instructional Services: $5,006,292 (8.3% of overall spending)
  • Debt Service: $4,538,695 (7.5% of overall spending)

Thomas Edison Charter School (1,290 students): $8,662,365 spent / average per student: $6,714

  • Instruction: $5,575,885 (64.4% of overall spending)
  • Support Services: $1,916,294 (22.1% of overall spending)
  • Debt Service: $838,042 (9.7% of overall spending)
  • Facilities Acquisition & Construction Services: $269,041 (3.1% of overall spending)
  • Non-instructional Services: $63,103 (0.7% of overall spending)

Edith Bowen Laboratory School (358 students): $3,891,242 / average per student: $10,858

  • Instruction: $2,183,518 (56.1% of overall spending)
  • Support Services: $1,547,414 (39.8% of overall spending)
  • Non-instructional Services: $160,310 (4.1% of overall spending)

The Center for Creativity, Innovation and Discovery (343 students): $9,910,145 / average per student: $28,906

  • Debt Service: $7,480,045 (75.5% of overall spending)
  • Instruction: $1,330,376 (13.4% of overall spending)
  • Support Services: $956,658 (9.7% of overall spending)
  • Non-instructional Services: $143,066 (1.4% of overall spending)

Fast Forward Charter High School (241 students): $2,374,980 / average per student: $9,844

  • Instruction: $1,275,965 (53.7% of overall spending)
  • Support Services: $874,774 (36.8% of overall spending)
  • Debt Service: $159,969 (6.7% of overall spending)
  • Non-Instructional Services: $64,272 (2.7% of overall spending)

InTech Collegiate High School (165 students): $1,716,453 / average per student: $10,401

  • Instruction: $862,284 (50.2% of overall spending)
  • Support Services: $843,179 (49.1% of overall spending)
  • Non-instructional Services: $10,990 (0.6% of overall spending)

Bear River Charter School (165 students): $1,388,039 / average per student: $8,390

  • Instruction: $834,141 (60.1% of overall spending)
  • Support Services: $417,238 (30.1% of overall spending)
  • Debt Service: $50,358 (3.6% of overall spending)
  • Facilities Acquisition & Construction Services: $50,331 (3.6% of overall spending)
  • Non-instructional Services: $35,971 (2.6% of overall spending)

By way of reference, the Rich School District (437 students) spent $8,500,494 – an average of $17,381 per student – and the Box Elder School District (11,548 students) spent $117,866,596 – an average of $10,206 per student. For the state of Utah as a whole, $6.7 billion was spent in education on 646,192 students.

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1 Comment

  • Warren s Pugh September 25, 2019 at 6:26 am Reply

    What a remarkable change in less than a year.

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