Letter: Utahns can afford to better fund education

Published February 25, 2014 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Several recent Tribune letters have addressed the unfairness of large families using more of our education money, while paying less for their children's education. A Tribune editorial ("Reduce ed subsidy for large families," Feb. 15) supported a limit of two exemptions per household.

Census data for FY 2011 found that Utah spent the least among the 50 states on the education of each student. The national average is $10,559 per student annually, while Utah spent $6,212, or 58 percent of the U.S. average, and Mississippi spent 27 percent more than Utah.

A kindergarten through grade-12 education in Utah cost $80,756 in 2011. Thus, we pay $161,512 more to educate four children in a family than to educate two children.

These data become even more distressing when we view them in the context of average family income adjusted for cost of living. In 2009, the median adjusted Utah household income was $50,221, the 19th-highest in the nation; it was $39,720 in Mississippi, which is 26 percent less than Utah, and the lowest in the nation.

In summary, Mississippi households have 26 percent less income than Utah households, but they spend 27 percent more per student than Utah to educate their children. Let's force our legislators to confront these facts.

Frank Cameron