This is an update as to what is going on in the special session today, and also a link to a great website that shows how money is being spent in our school districts and in the state.
SPECIAL SESSION TODAY
On Thursday, September 5, Governor Herbert called for a special session to be held today, September 16, at 6:00 pm to address fixes in some recently passed laws. A KSL story with some insights into the special session can be found here.
The agenda will include
- Amendments to the medical cannabis laws to ensure the timely, efficient, and safe implementation and operation of the state’s medical cannabis program. Specific details about the changes are outlined on this pdf;
- Amendments to the Utah Election Code regarding the date of the 2020 primary election (the proposal is to change it from the fourth Tuesday in June to the last Tuesday in June to allow more time for conventions) and technical amendments;
- Amendments to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act regarding the transportation and storage of certain heavy beer prior to November 1, 2019;
- Legislative approval of and appropriations for the settlement of lawsuits against the state;
- Amendments to certain tax incentives regarding the review required by an independent certified public accountant and technical amendments;
- Appropriations for the 2020 United States Census.
Last week, the Office of the State Auditor announced the release of a public education spending dashboard which begins to help answer the public’s common question, “Where does the money go in public education?”
This interactive dashboard visually displays the areas where money is spent within Utah’s public K-12 education system, both by spending categories and by local education agency. The dashboard integrates data that is collected and published by the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and is intended to make it easier for the public to understand and interpret education spending in Utah.
I am excited about this dashboard, because I often hear concerns about how education money is spent in a particular district. Transparency and data is vital so that we can know what the truth is and where the issues are. Believe it or not, Utah’s school districts are the most efficient in the nation, though there is always room for improvement.
One of the concerns I often hear and that can be answered by this dashboard is how much money goes to students versus administration. There is a common belief that Utah’s districts spend far too much on administration. To help answer that question for any Utah district, go to the dashboard and click on that district on the graphic.You can then use the filters at the top to either include or exclude capital expenses.
I did that for the districts I represent: Alpine and Provo. I found out that Alpine district spends $93 on students to every $7 spent on administration, and Provo district spends about $94.50 on students for every $5.50 spent on administration. (In addition, if you look at the graphs to the right of the page, you can see that spending on administration has decreased over the last four years.) I think these are pretty good ratios; you might disagree with me, but either way, we now have the facts at our fingertips.
Thank you Office of the State Auditor!
If you ever have any questions or concerns, please let me know!