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Call for a comprehensive performance audit of Utah public schools

The last day of Utah's 2019 State Legislative session lasted until about 11 pm where lawmakers passed a record number of bills. Photo: Colby Walker

SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers want to know where all the money they’ve earmarked for public schools is going, so they are calling for a comprehensive performance audit.

On Tuesday the Legislative Audit Subcommittee voted unanimously to prioritize the audit. It will specifically look at teacher retention, teacher pay, administrative compensation and overhead for district and charter schools, but also the outcomes — meaning how are students performing.

“As we look at perhaps some of the opportunities we have, education is over 50-55% of our budget. It’s very important that we know not only administrative costs but the performance of the particular institutions, the performance outcomes,” said Senate President Stuart Adams when he called for the audit.

“As we look at the different elements that might be evaluated, probably one of the most important is actually the kids, and the outcomes is probably one of the most significant things we can evaluate,” he said.

One report said more than $1 billion dollars has been spent on Utah public schools since 2012.

State Auditor John Dougall has also called for something similar, asking where state money is going in public education and how is that money spent?

BYU is helping with studying that big data.

The state superintendent did not comment on this new audit that’s coming.

The Utah Foundation this week released a report saying Utah spends less than other states per-pupil, but out-performs them.