Governor unveils fiscal year 2017 education-focused blueprint to prepare for Utah’s growth

December 9, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (Dec. 9, 2015) – Education is once again the governor’s top budget priority with nearly 70 percent of new money in the state budget devoted to education. The recommendations are an integral part of the statewide goal to place Utah among the nation’s top-10 states in academic performance.

State leaders have invested an additional $1.3 billion in education over the past four years. Gov. Herbert’s FY 2017 budget calls for $422 million in new funds for education, bringing the five-year total to $1.7 billion of new education funding.

One of the biggest drivers of the governor’s proposed budget is the Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) which funds public schools across the state. The governor is calling for a 4.75 percent increase in the WPU. He remains committed to local control in order to invest dollars where they are needed most, including teacher salaries, professional development, technology and hiring more guidance counselors. A 4.75 percent increase amounts to $206 for every student in the state.

As reported earlier this week, consensus revenue forecasts project $561 million in new funds in the budget, including $181 million in new, one-time money and $380 in new, ongoing money. The budget contains no general tax increases or new debt. The budget proposal pays off $350 million in debt, which totals $1.5 billion in total debt paid by the state in the past five years. In addition, Utah’s Rainy Day fund has now reached $528 million, the highest amount in the state’s history.

Gov. Herbert is making strategic investments to yield important dividends for the future of Utah’s success. The recommendations will help continue Utah’s forward progress and keep pace with Utah’s rapidly growing 3 million population.