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Utah spends less per student than other states, but still out-performs the others

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SALT LAKE CITY — A new report says Utah is still spending a lot less per student than many other states. But the report also says Utah students are out-performing those other states.

A report released by the Utah Foundation says Utah is spending half than what some states are on their students at $7,179 per student in 2017, which is the latest data researchers used. The national median was $11,554 and Wyoming was spending $16,537 per pupil.

But the report also says Utah students perform better than many of those other students when comparing things like graduation rates and test scores.

“I think the takeaway is, you can’t draw a straight line between funding and outcomes. More money does not equal better outcomes,” Utah Foundation President Peter Reichard told Utah’s Morning News.

But he says, “At some point, spending does become decisive. You can’t spend $2,000 per student and expect good outcomes. But maybe you don’t have to spend $20,000.”

Yet Utah still compares well with them while spending less money.

Reichard says Utah ought to ask if they could still do better by spending more on schools.

The state of Utah is trying to study where the money goes in Utah schools, and how it is spent.

The Utah Foundation report said one reason why Utah students do so well, is having more college-educated two-parent households helping their kids succeed. And one way we spend less money is by having larger school districts, which cuts down on administrative costs.

You can read the whole report here.

You can listen to the entire interview with Reichard below.