As a taxpayer, do you ever feel like you get no respect for your efforts? It sure felt that way when the latest anti-voucher mailer arrived this week. Utahns for Public Schools show a table titled 2004-2005 Per Pupil Spending, which states that Utahns spent $5,257 per pupil. But if you look at the really fine print at the bottom of the page you see that the table just shows per pupil amounts for current spending. Reviewing Table 11 in the U.S. Census Bureau's 2005 Public Education Finances report you will see that per pupil revenue for the 2004-2005 school year was $6,510.
The difference? $1,253 per student. Not chump change. That's an additional 24% above the $5,257 number reported in the flyer. In aggregate over $500M just dropped off like the taxpayer didn't make the effort.
Where did the $1,253 go? Perhaps it's just a victim of that new math where there are no wrong answers (just wrong parents). Perhaps some will try to justify that school contruction spending shouldn't be counted as an educational expense. But if we don't build the schools, then where will we educate students? And if we're not going to educate the students, why build the schools?
I think it does a disservice to the public to hide the overwhelming effort that Utah taxpayers make to pay for public education in this state.