This is the wealthiest school district in Utah

September 15, 2022

School spending inequalities have been a contentious issue in the American public education system for decades. Because public schools typically get the bulk of their funding from local sources like property taxes, wealthy counties are often better funded than poorer ones.

While studies have shown that higher spending per student can improve student outcomes, there are myriad other factors – both inside and outside of the classroom – that can affect a student’s likelihood of success. One of them is financial security at home.

Students from low-income families may have a harder time recovering from setbacks due to limited supportive resources. A recent report by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce found that children from low-income households who score high on standardized preschool aptitude tests have only a 3 in 10 chance of graduating from college and getting a good entry-level job when they were young adult Meanwhile, children from wealthy families who do poorly on the same tests have a 7 in 10 chance.

This study suggests that even if per-student spending were the same in thousands of school districts across the United States, students in high-income areas would still have a significant advantage.

Of the active districts in Utah with at least 100 students, Salt Lake County‘s Canyons District is the wealthiest. Households in the district have a median annual income of $114,020, compared to the statewide average of $94,452, according to five-year estimates from the US Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey.

Despite the strong local tax base, education spending in the district is only slightly above the national average. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, spending per student in the district was $8,161 in the 2018-2019 school year, the most recent year for available data, compared to an average of $7,950 for all Utah schools.

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