Utah schools may see a decline in enrollment
Oct 31, 2023, 9:00 PM
(Mengshin Lin, Deseret News)
SALT LAKE CITY — In the coming decades, some parts of Utah could see nearly a 50% decline in school enrollment.
That’s according to a report by Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.
Student enrollment plays a big role in the distribution of public education funding, the largest state-funded program in Utah.
However, the institute’s projections indicate a decline in student enrollment will take place beginning in the next few years. From 2023 to 2033, it’s estimated there will be a decline of 0.6% before rising again in 2036. By 2023, the report says about 40,000 fewer school-aged youth will exist.
Although there will be fewer students, the institute says the projected decline offers a unique opportunity for Utah lawmakers. One opportunity is to increase per-pupil funding. Ed Source says Per-pupil funding is “The amount of money spent on education by a school district or the state, divided by the number of students educated.”
Lawmakers could also reduce tax levels and allocate money elsewhere, such as at-risk students and extracurriculars.
“Youth population declines will provide some relief from these cost pressures, creating opportunities to sizably increase K-12 per-pupil spending, alter tax levels, or shift funding to other programs,” the Institute said in its report.
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