Utah has been last in the nation for decades in per pupil spending on education, but no longer. According to 2019 U.S. Census Bureau data released Tuesday, Utah pulled ahead of Idaho and is now the second lowest state in per pupil education spending.
The Utah Foundation measures this by looking at spending and, more important, outcomes. Utah students are currently somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of outcomes compared to other states.
This year, lawmakers have updated Utah’s funding formula for kids at risk of poorer academic outcomes, and it will increase annually with Utah’s funding mechanism, the weighted pupil unit. Additionally, the Utah legislature is looking at potentially increasing that funding. If the funding does increase, Utah just may pull ahead of Arizona and become the third lowest in per pupil education spending.