By Joe Belnap
Governor Spencer Cox has released an updated priority list. One of the priorities is to address the funding disparities between school districts.
According to a recent study presented to the Utah Legislature, schools like Provost Elementary are not receiving enough funding for their needs.
In a middle class in Provost, more than half of the children are economically disadvantaged.
“When you’re in a country that has less money or less funding or you’re less privileged, that’s where we should give them more,” said Provost Elementary principal Kami Alvarez.
According to Alexander Jacobson, a major contributor to the study, this is consistent with one of the study’s findings.
“This suggests that the additional resource requirements are for students who are particularly economically disadvantaged,” Jacobson said.
Governor Cox said there are two main reasons why inequity still exists.
“The reason it’s difficult is that when you start playing around with those ratings, you have winners and losers,” Cox said.
Property taxes are one of the sources of funding for school districts, but property values vary widely from district to district.
“The place that needs the money the most has higher taxes but they get less for it and places that don’t need it, they have lower taxes and they get everything they need. for that, ”Cox said. .
The second reason that inequity has not been addressed is that few people know the complexities of funding schools. “It’s just very complicated. Funding schools is incredibly complex, ”Cox said.
Cox wants to avoid cutting funding to more privileged school districts, “but to use new sources of funding as they become available to help these schools.”
While there are opportunities for improvement, the study found that “Utah’s system is fundamentally sound,” Jacobson said.
What does more funding accomplish for a school like Provost?
“Retaining the best teachers and recruiting them into education might have the best results. More money for teachers could help, ”Alvarez said.
The governor hopes solutions will be presented to the legislature by February.