Utahns Overwhelmingly Want Better Funded Schools

ClassroomUtah remains last place among the states in per-pupil spending, and Utahns are not happy about it.

In fact, eight out of 10 say do what is necessary to get us out of last place, a new UtahPolicy poll finds.

UPD’s pollster, Dan Jones & Associates, concludes in his latest survey that 83 percent of Utahns say it is “very” or “somewhat” important that Utah gets out of last place spending per pupil in our public schools – with 55 percent saying it is “very important.”

Only 17 percent say it is not important that we are in last place in student spending.

And 1 percent doesn’t know.

GOP Gov. Gary Herbert has just won a huge victory for another term (he says his last).

And Herbert says his No. 1 goal is to make Utah’s public schools – and thus students – in the top 10 nationally.

How he’s going to do this is unclear – and in debates both with his GOP opponents and Democrat Mike Weinholtz – Herbert tried to deflect the fact that Utah students get the least amount of tax money in the nation by pointing out how much (more than $1 billion) taxpayers dollars have been going into education the past few years and how well Utah students are doing in graduating high school and standardized tests.

Still, Herbert has told UtahPolicy there will be NO tax hike for public schools in his recommended 2017-2018 budget.

And GOP legislative leaders, likewise, say don’t expect any tax hike for schools this coming general session, which starts the end of January.


Jones finds:

  • More women say it is important for Utah to drag itself out of last place in per-pupil spending than do men.
  • 76 percent of men believe this.
  • 88 percent of women do.

Historically in Utah, women have more to do with children’s education than do men.

Utah is a GOP-dominated state; not only is Herbert a Republican, but Republicans hold a supermajority in the state House and Senate.

And Jones finds: 

  • 80 percent of Republicans say taking Utah out of last place in education spending is important.
  • Only 18 percent of Republicans don’t believe lifting Utah above last place is important.
  • And 1 percent of Republicans don’t know.


How about 99 percent say raising per-pupil spending above last place is important.

Try finding any other issue that a group of Utahns agrees on 99 percent of the time. Maybe like it is important to love your mother.

  • Political independents agree with Republicans: They say per-pupil spending needs to rise above the bottom, 80-18 percent.

Jones also finds that 73 percent of those who say they are “very conservative” political favor higher per-pupil spending.

And 83 percent of those who claim they are “very active” in their LDS faith say more spending on students in important.

You can’t find two demographic groups whom Utah lawmakers will listen to more – very conservative Republicans and active LDS Mormons – for by far most legislators are both of those things.

Time will tell if, or when, Herbert and GOP lawmakers move aggressively to get Utah’s per-pupil spending off of rock bottom among all the states.

Jones polled 818 adults from Oct. 12-20. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.43 percent.