Utah Ed Officials Make $25M School Funding Mistake

Friday, April 13, 2012

A miscalculation at the State Office of Education has led to a $25 million mistake in Utah’s education budget for next school year — and the resignation of two top finance officials.

Education leaders, however, say they don’t expect the potential shortfall to hurt schools or districts. State leaders are considering solutions ranging from using education money expected to be left over at the end of this school year to calling a special legislative session.

"We committed to fund [enrollment] growth and this is an important part of growth," said Senate Budget Chairman Lyle Hillyard on Wednesday. "We would hope to get it fixed, and I think that’s going to be our first priority."

The $25 million represents less than 1 percent of the state’s overall $3 billion-plus education budget.

The problem was that the state office essentially underestimated the number of students expected in schools next school year. The correct number will cost the state $25 million more than anticipated.

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