Utah’s Per-Pupil Spending Fell Nearly 6% During the Great Recession

According to a new study, Utah’s per-pupil spending is actually less than it was before the Great Recession.

The analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the amount of money Utah spends per student dropped 5.6% from 2008 to 2014 when adjusted for inflation. 

As you can see from this chart, Utah is not alone and not the worst when it comes to cutting spending on education. Oklahoma and Alabama have cut their spending by more than 20% since 2008.

Utah’s drop in spending is also reflected in real dollars when adjusted for inflation, with a cut of $263 per student when adjusted for inflation from 2008 to 2014.

According to the analysis, those cuts made the recession worse and hampered economic recovery.

  • Federal employment data show that school districts began reducing the overall number of teachers and other employees in July 2008, when the first round of budget cuts began taking effect.  
  • As of August 2013, local school districts had cut a total of 324,000 jobs since 2008.[4]  These job losses have reduced the purchasing power of workers’ families, in turn reducing overall economic consumption, and thus deepened the recession and slowed the pace of recovery.