Utah again ranks last in nation for school spending

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Once again, Utah ranks last in the nation when it comes to money spent per student.

A new Census Bureau report for the 2006-07 school year shows that the state spent $5,683 per public school student in 2007. That's nearly $4,000 less than the national average and increases a gap that's steadily grown over the past five years.

Officials say the trend is due to the large number of children in Utah and a decline in the proportion of personal income going toward education. Utah once ranked among the top 10 states for proportion of personal income going toward education but now ranks 33rd.

Some say the report doesn't mean Utah students are getting a poor education.

State Sen. Howard Stephenson tells the Salt Lake Tribune areas nationwide that pour a lot of money into education still are not seeing success. Washington D.C., for example, spends about $14,000 per student but its school system is one of the most troubled in the nation.

Stephenson thinks a trimester schedule would be better for Utah than more money. It would require students to attend in shifts, meaning schools would need fewer teachers and could pay teachers more.

But State Superintendent Larry Shumway told the Tribune that money does make a difference when it comes to student achievement, citing things like large class size and fewer course offerings.

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