School district's across the state have seen their budgets slashed year after year with rural counties like Morgan being hit the hardest. The Morgan County School District has been forced to eliminate staff, cut bus routes, and shift costs on to students and parents just to stay open. This is happening because of changes made by the State Legislature to how education in Utah is funded.
Beginning with a 1996 change to the State Constitution, the legislature began taking money out of the education fund at the average rate of $690 million a year and simply using it elsewhere. The result is that today Utah is last in the nation in per pupil spending
Morgan County, with one of the highest per capital incomes in the state, can only invest $6,199 per pupil on it's children. The National Average is $10,700.
For contrast, Utah spends $12,000 per person on it's prison population and the State Legislature compensates themselves at 5 times that rate for just 45 days of work. Link here
Morgan High School this year suffered from repeated breakdowns of it's ancient heating system leaving students and teachers bundled in blankets to keep warm. The school district lost a large number of teachers including the entire 3rd grade teaching staff.
The Community Impact Fund comes from taxes on mineral and energy development on Utah's public lands. It was set up to provide funding for projects like upgrading school infrastucture. Normally the board that controls the fund would direct grants and loans to counties for projects like replacing Morgan High School's failing boiler. But Utah Republicans on the Community Impact Board thought a better use of the money would be to spend $53 million to build a port in Oakland California to help privately owned coal companies sell more coal overseas. We need to end such abuses of public funds.
Former Republican Legislator, David Irvine, referred to this deal as
private investors exploiting state funds
Utah now needs to spend $2.6 billion per year more than it does, just to come back up to the national average. 53 local utah governments are forced to propose new tax increases this year alone..That is what the so called "fiscal Conservative Legislature" has created.
What is the Utah legislature doing to fix the education funding problem? Well - nothing. Actually less than nothing. They're literally throwing money away.
The Utah Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands voted to waste $14 million on the hopeless lawsuit to try to gain state control over 31 million acres of public land. A lawsuit the legislatures own attorneys say has no chance of success.
Windfall profits given back to oil companies.(Read more here) .
$400 million to move the prison so well connected developers, like retired Republican Senate President, Scott Jenkins, could profit from the sale of the current location.