STATE FUNDING OF PUBLIC EDUCATION

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1 10 STATE FUNDING OF PUBLIC EDUCATION IN UTAH State funding of public education is a top priority in every legislative session. No other function of state government requires near the funding that public education does. In the fiscal year 2014 budget, 48.9 percent of the $5.5 billion General Fund and Education Fund was appropriated to public education Figure The share for public education has been relatively constant for a number of years. The second largest expenditure, higher education, is a distant second, accounting for only 15.2 percent of General Fund and Education Fund appropriations. Figure 10.1 Uses of Unrestricted General Fund and Education Fund, FY2014 Other Social Services, 5.8% Debt Service - Buildings, 1.5% Medicaid, 9.8% Corrections, Safety & Justice, 9.7% Other, 9.1% Higher Education, 15.2% Public Education, 48.9% Source: Appropriations Report, Utah State Legislature When funding from state, local, and federal sources is combined, total spending on public education in 2014 was $5 billion. With total enrollment of 612,500 students, spending was almost $8,200 per student SOURCES OF F UNDING Education funding comes from state, local and federal sources. State funds flow from individual and corporate income taxes. The revenue from these two sources is dedicated solely to public and higher education. State funds provide $2.75 billion for public education. In FY2014 local 537

2 A N A NALYSIS OF A T RANSFER OF F EDERAL L ANDS TO THE S TATE OF U TAH property taxes provided another $1.8 billion in funding. Federal government funding provided $480 million. As shown in Figure 10.2, the $2.75 billion in state funds represents 55 percent of all funding for Utah s public schools. Funding from local governments accounts for 35 percent and federal funding about 10 percent. Figure 10.2 State, Local and Federal Funding of Public Education Local Funding, 10% Federal Funding, 35% State Funding, 55% Source: Appropriations Report, Utah State Legislature Minimum School Program State funds for public education are distributed to local school districts through the Minimum School Program (MSP). The MSP was created by the Utah State Legislature in 1974 in response to the Utah School Finance Study (1972), which provided recommendations on alternative allocation of resources to equalize financial burdens among and between school districts and provide some opportunity for districts to enrich local programs if desired. The 1972 study provided the basis for the current MSP program, although over the intervening years a number of changes have altered the program and added complexity. This growing complexity of the MSP is a subject of controversy with some education advocacy groups. Nevertheless, Utah s MSP has provided a level of equity in public education funding that few states can equal. Failure of many states to achieve equity has led to court challenges. Utah is one of only a handful of states that have avoided judicial review of their funding formulae and the subsequent court order to make the funding system more equitable. In 2014 Utah s Minimum School Program distributed $3.35 billion in funds. The MSP is divided into three subprograms: (1) the Basic School Program, (2) the Related to Basic School Program, and (3) the Voted and Board Leeway Programs. Within these three broad subprograms there are currently 36 individual programs. 538

3 11 Linking Public Lands to Social Conditions and Quality of Life Basic School Program The Basic School Program (BSP) is the largest subprogram in the MSP. In 2014 the BSP provided $2.1 billion in funding for general operation revenue to local school districts (Table 10.1). BSP funds are unrestricted and spent on local priorities by local school boards. Table 10.1 Minimum School Program, FY2014 Program Category Funding Share State Funds Basic Program Education Fund $2.1 Billion 62.7% Related to Basic Programs Education Fund $520 Million 15.5% Voted & Board Levy Program Education Fund $76 Million 2.3% Local Funds Voted & Board Levy Program Local Property Tax $355 Million 10.6% Basic Program Local Property Tax Basic Levy $297 Million 8.9% Total Minimum School Program $3.35 billion 100% Source: Governor s Office of Management and Budget, Budget and Policy Briefs The Basic School Program is fully equalized on both the spending and funding side. On the spending side, a school district receives its allocation based on the number of Weighted Pupil Units (WPU) multiplied by the value of the WPU. The revenue side is equalized with a uniform tax rate imposed statewide by local school districts. Table 10.2 Value of Weighted Pupil Units, The WPU is used to allocate funding on a uniform basis for each student. The WPU is defined as one student in average daily membership. The 1972 study found that the weighted pupil unit was the most equitable approach to funding. The WPU formula is objective and recognizes the different costs associated with different student groups. The number of WPUs for each school district is determined annually and funding is allocated based on the value of a WPU. The number of WPUs is based on: (1) the number of students in kindergarten and grades 1 12, (2) the number of students in special education programs, (3) experience and educational level of professional staff, (4) career and technical education programs, and (5) school district size and rural schools. Fiscal Year Current Dollars Constant 2014 Dollars 2000 $1,901 $2, $2,006 $2, $2,116 $2, $2,132 $2, $2,150 $2, $2,182 $2, $2,280 $2, $2,417 $2, $2,514 $2, $2,577 $2, $2,577 $2, $2,577 $2, $2,816 $2, $2,842 $2, $2,899 $2,899 Source: Utah State Office of Education. School districts, as well as charter schools, are guaranteed an amount of state funding based on the WPU and the value of the WPU as determined by the legislature. The combination of the number of WPUs and the value of the WPUs determines the state funding received by a local school district. The WPU value has increased nearly every year; only in FY and was the WPU left unchanged. The value of a WPU has never been decreased. In 2014 the WPU was $2,899. Adjusting for inflation, the WPU has increased by 10 percent since 2000 (Table 10.2). The revenue for the Basic School Program and WPUs is generated initially by local property taxes. School districts impose a uniform property tax known as the basic levy or basic tax 539

4 A N A NALYSIS OF A T RANSFER OF F EDERAL L ANDS TO THE S TATE OF U TAH rate (see Voted and Board Levy Program below). In 2014 the basic tax rate is If the basic levy revenues are below the guaranteed amount determined by the number and value of WPUs this is the case in 40 of 41 school districts in Utah (Figure 10.3) state funds from income and corporate taxes supplement the basic levy revenues to achieve the guaranteed funding level for the district. If basic levy revenues exceed the guaranteed amount, the surplus goes to the state. Figure 10.3 Percent of Basic Program Cost Funded by a School District s Basic Levy Revenue, % 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Tintic So. Sanpete Piute Nebo Alpine Weber Cache San Juan Davis No. Sanpete Jordan Tooele Ogden Sevier Box Elder Granite Wayne Provo Logan Iron Garfield Morgan Juab Washington Canyons Duchesne Murray Carbon Daggett Beaver Kane Salt Lake Millard Wasatch No. Summit Uintah Emery Grand So. Summit Rich Park City Source: Utah State Office of Education. Related to the Basic Program The subprogram called Related to the Basic Program is fully funded by state money. In 2014 this subprogram was funded at $520 million. These monies are generally targeted for specific purposes such as transportation, youth-in-custody, adult education, at-risk students, enhancement for accelerated students and teacher salary adjustments. Voted and Board Levy Program Under this subprogram the state provided $76 million in funding to school districts with a comparatively low property tax base per student. Another $355 million from local property tax levies is accounted for in the state budget, although these are local funds as well as the basic levy of $297 million School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration A source of funding to public education particularly relevant to this study is the State Permanent School Fund administered by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA). Most SITLA trust lands are public school lands, and the annual net revenues from 3.3 million acres of public school lands must go to the State Permanent School Fund. Currently the State Permanent School Fund has an asset value of over $1.6 billion. By state statute only the dividend and interest earnings generated by the fund are distributed annually to public schools. 540

5 11 Linking Public Lands to Social Conditions and Quality of Life In fiscal year 2013 the distribution to public education from permanent fund earnings was nearly $38 million (Table 10.3). Currently, permanent fund earnings provide a very small fraction of state funding to education, only 1.4 percent. Earnings from the Permanent School Fund amount to less than 1 percent of the total $5 billion funding for public education in Payments in Lieu of Taxes and Secure Rural Schools There are two federal programs that provide funding to public education due to federal ownership of land in Utah: Payments in Lieu of Taxes and the Secure Rural Schools program. Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) are payments to local government based on the acres of federal land within the jurisdiction. These payments may be used for any local government purpose. In FY2013 PILT payments to local governments in Utah totaled $35.4 million. Local governments directed about 10 percent of the PILT payments to local school districts, a total of $3.2 million (Table 10.4). Garfield School District received the largest amount of PILT funding, $688,113. Table 10.3 SITLA Annual Distribution to Public Schools (Millions of Nominal Dollars) Fiscal Year Fund Distribution 2001 $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $ $37.8 Total $231.6 Source: State Institutional Trust Lands Administration. Since 1908 states have received a portion of the receipts of timber harvested in national forests. These receipts could be spent on public schools and roads in the counties where the national forests are located. With the decline in timber harvest revenue in the 1990s, the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (SRS) was passed to stabilize and transition payments to counties to provide funding for schools and roads that supplements other available funds 283 among other goals. Receipts to counties fall into three categories; Title I, Title II and Title III payments. Only Title I provides public school funding. Fifty percent of Title I payments received by a county are allocated to the local school district. Garfield County, with $618,301 in payments, led all counties in FY2013 in SRS payments (Table 10.5). The transfer of federal lands to state ownership would eliminate the federal PILT and Secure Rural Schools payments. In FY2013 these two federal programs distributed $7.8 million to local school districts. If the land transfer were to hold public education harmless, the state would need to replace PILT and SRS funding with state funding USC See Chapter 5: Federal Land-Based Revenues for a full discussion of PILT and SRS. 541

6 A N A NALYSIS OF A T RANSFER OF F EDERAL L ANDS TO THE S TATE OF U TAH Table 10.4 PILT payments to Local School Districts by County, FY2008 FY2013 (Constant 2013 Dollars) School District (by County) FY2008 FY2009 FY2010 FY2011 FY2012 FY2013 Beaver $11,967 $113,455 $94,263 $111,257 $74,436 $72,097 Box Elder $13,701 $87,986 $79,563 $67,574 $61,616 $0 Cache $38,728 $221,198 $213,074 $169,661 $163,971 $0 Logan $0 $89,910 $86,735 $68,995 $64,975 $0 Carbon $2,081 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 Daggett $34,051 $0 $0 $31,165 $30,351 $0 Davis $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 Duchesne $83,930 $0 $305,924 $264,095 $295,841 $257,878 Emery $14,626 $177,306 $189,591 $168,064 $136,580 $93,117 Garfield $144,815 $904,258 $940,769 $730,211 $623,028 $688,113 Grand $3,749 $190,960 $85,627 $84,495 $34,477 $26,232 Iron $22,739 $52,874 $286,243 $243,841 $208,001 $0 Juab $15,615 $107,579 $0 $0 $46,629 $0 Tintic $1,808 $68,072 $60,949 $52,609 $46,628 $0 Kane $20,292 $83,086 $74,040 $64,790 $51,982 $59,797 Millard $20,619 $267,700 $224,557 $193,385 $195,264 $164,838 Morgan $10,398 $12,429 $11,699 $9,928 $8,783 $7,713 Piute $13,120 $182,524 $154,098 $166,645 $143,645 $147,956 Rich $12,256 $40,672 $40,041 $37,019 $31,032 $31,235 Canyons $0 $0 $0 $2,865 $2,772 $0 Granite $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $14,199 Jordan $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 Murray $863 $0 $590 $566 $535 $1,364 Salt Lake City $0 $2,161 $2,109 $2,011 $1,928 $4,991 San Juan $30,928 $824,425 $0 $0 $0 $0 No. Sanpete $336,996 $584,524 $278,336 $230,979 $176,351 $0 So. Sanpete $14,337 $313,317 $289,034 $251,948 $230,831 $211,081 Sevier $47,348 $723,286 $689,102 $580,766 $468,289 $476,958 No. Summit $16,231 $0 $12,308 $11,670 $11,503 $10,548 So. Summit $22,723 $17,898 $17,484 $16,597 $16,648 $15,541 Park City $69,251 $56,937 $55,620 $52,775 $50,046 $46,704 Tooele $37,808 $147,543 $133,741 $126,739 $110,036 $98,534 Uintah $35,149 $179,918 $158,391 $127,903 $150,344 $130,926 Alpine $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 Nebo $15,013 $141,436 $146,041 $122,697 $113,155 $93,292 Provo $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 Wasatch $57,357 $0 $0 $0 $0 $278,207 Washington $51,475 $356,869 $358,430 $316,137 $277,344 $259,716 Wayne $19,945 $176,595 $147,251 $128,571 $133,222 $0 Weber $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 Ogden $10,058 $0 $12,917 $13,251 $8,431 $11,242 Total $1,229,980 $6,124,918 $5,148,527 $4,449,210 $3,968,672 $3,202,279 Source: Utah State Office of Education, Annual Financial Reports (Revenues); available from 542

7 11 Linking Public Lands to Social Conditions and Quality of Life Table 10.5 Secure Rural Schools Title I Payments to School Districts by County, FY2008 FY2013 (Constant 2013 Dollars) County FY2008 FY2009 FY2010 FY2011 FY2012 FY2013* Beaver $ $95,548 $113,402 $75,661 $72,920 $76,366 Box Elder $88,114 $80,648 $68,876 $62,630 $55,053 $53,189 Cache $311,563 $303,893 $243,257 $232,709 $192,568 $180,634 Carbon $0 $0 $0 $0 $15,247 $15,665 Daggett $354,914 $338,387 $244,299 $ $150,635 $104,804 Davis $23,042 $21,451 $19,825 $17,888 $19,189 $17,842 Duchesne $432,182 $349,283 $269,187 $300,705 $260,821 $210,679 Emery $177,565 $192,175 $171,304 $138,825 $94,180 $142,002 Garfield $905,579 $953,588 $744,289 $633,272 $695,965 $618,301 Grand $46,744 $50,773 $41,526 $35,044 $26,532 $23,202 Iron $282,929 $290,144 $248,542 $211,421 $216,190 $198,131 Juab $123,958 $123,559 $107,245 $94,790 $96,487 $90,576 Kane $83,207 $75,049 $66,039 $52,836 $60,479 $53,389 Millard $268,091 $227,617 $197,114 $198,475 $166,719 $188,803 Morgan $12,448 $11,858 $10,120 $8,927 $7,801 $6,557 Piute $182,791 $156,198 $169,858 $146,008 $149,645 $141,204 Rich $40,731 $40,587 $37,732 $31,542 $31,592 $27,365 Salt Lake $0 $0 $0 $0 $38,983 $37,324 San Juan $825,630 $766,565 $665,637 $499,309 $419,586 $423,400 Sanpete $566,483 $528,927 $455,007 $413,877 $379,470 $353,773 Sevier $724,344 $698,492 $591,962 $475,989 $782,400 $459,244 Summit $0 $0 $41,302 $39,741 $36,812 $36,049 Tooele $147,758 $135,564 $129,183 $111,846 $99,658 $92,940 Uintah $180,181 $160,550 $130,369 $152,815 $132,420 $124,242 Utah $523,632 $547,247 $467,348 $430,606 $355,126 $326,783 Wasatch $348,522 $318,054 $279,573 $257,543 $281,382 $249,567 Washington $357,391 $363,313 $322,231 $281,904 $262,367 $250,226 Wayne $176,853 $149,257 $131,050 $111,954 $103,017 $102,469 Weber $48,453 $45,197 46,398 $41,440 $39,019 $36,356 State Total $7,346,724 $7,023,924 $5,971,375 $5,212,756 $4,905,761 $4,605,034 Source: U.S. Forest Service, accessed 4/11/ THE CHALLENGE OF G ROWTH Public education requires substantial financial as well as human resources. In 2014 there were 52,000 employees in Utah s public education system, including 26,000 teachers, 20,500 support staff, 3,800 counselors and 1,600 administrators. The annual growth of such a large enterprise results in significant additional resources. In the school year Utah s student population will grow by 10,300 students, a gain of 1.7 percent. This growth will cost an additional $64 million. In 2013 growth required $68.5 million in additional funding. The number of students in Utah s 41 school districts and 100 charter schools is expected to reach 623,000 in FY2015 (Figure 10.4). 543

8 A N A NALYSIS OF A T RANSFER OF F EDERAL L ANDS TO THE S TATE OF U TAH 700,000 Figure 10.4 Public Education Enrollment in Utah, , ,000 Enrollment 400, , , ,000 0 Source: Utah State Office of Education. For a 10-year period from 1994 to 2002, growth in public education enrollment was relatively modest in three years enrollment actually declined but by the mid-2000s the grandchildren of Baby Boomers began reaching school age. This new wave of children resulted in a substantial increase in the annual percent change in enrollment (Figure 10.5). Figure 10.5 Percent Change in Public Education Enrollment in Utah, % 4.0% 3.0% 2.0% 1.0% 0.0% -1.0% Annual Enrollment Change Source: Utah State Office of Education. In this current wave, enrollment growth peaked in 2006 with an increase of 15,648 students, a 3.1 percent increase. Since then enrollment growth has steadily declined to a projected 1.7 percent in 2014 (Table 10.6). Over the next five years increases in enrollment will gradually slow due a small decline in the growth rate of the school-age population. From 2000 to 2010 the average annual enrollment growth rate was 1.76 percent. 544

9 11 Linking Public Lands to Social Conditions and Quality of Life Table 10.6 State Public School Enrollment and Change, Change Year Enrollment Absolute Relative ,732 8, % ,218 9, % ,259 7, % ,675 7, % ,402 2, % ,666 2, % ,028 4, % ,151 1, % ,061-2, % ,974-1, % , % ,801 2, % ,143 3, % ,938 5, % ,682 8, % ,012 14, % ,003 15, % ,653 13, % ,013 13, % ,273 12, % ,335 13, % ,745 11, % ,970 13, % ,551 11, % ,813 10, % Source: Utah State Office of Education. Over the 2010 to 2020 period the projected growth rate is 1.68 percent. Consequently, the share of school-age children in Utah will show a slight decline from 22.0 percent of the population in 2010 to 21.8 percent in 2020 (Table 10.7). Table 10.7 School-Age Population in Utah, Age 2000 Share 2010 Share 2020 Share 0 to 4 210, % 264, % 299, % 5 to , % 609, % 719, % 18 to , % 549, % 616, % 30 to , % 396, % 481, % 40 to , % 703, % 849, % 65 and over 191, % 250, % 342, % Total 2,246, % 2,774, % 3,309, % Source: Governor s Office of Management and Budget. Although the growth in enrollment will moderate in the next few years, Utah s perennially low ranking in expenditures per student enrolled will likely remain unchanged. In 2013 Utah ranked 50 th among all states and the District of Columbia in expenditures per enrolled student. The impact of Utah s relatively large number of students and low per-student funding level is also reflected in a number of important measures regarding the quality of the public education system. 545

10 A N A NALYSIS OF A T RANSFER OF F EDERAL L ANDS TO THE S TATE OF U TAH For example, Utah ranks 49 th in the number of students enrolled per teacher, and 44 th in per capita expenditures of state and local government for public education, leaving the state at only 64 percent of the national average in public education expenditures per enrolled student. 285 To raise per-student spending in Utah s public schools to the national average would require $2.6 billion in additional funding according to the Office of Legislative Fiscal Analyst; an additional $4,213 in tax revenue per household. The potential increase for public education funding from the transfer of federal lands to state ownership would not be sufficient to substantially reduce Utah s per-student funding gap. The land transfer would have little impact on local property tax revenues for schools. While at the state level there may be some marginal increase in funding, the net gain would likely not exceed 5 percent of current state expenditures for public education. 285 National Education Association, Ranking and Estimates, March

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