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More WPU confusion

Last week, we commented on the confusion that is created when newspapers, education advocates, and elected officials equate the WPU with per student spending. Today's example comes from the Deseret Morning News:

"The Legislature gave a 4 percent increase in the weighted pupil unit, the state's basic per-student funding formula that traditionally sets the pace for teacher raises."

Most readers would think that the Legislature increased per student spending by 4%, but this is not the case. The increase was much higher.

As noted last week, the WPU excludes a lot of education spending. Moreover, the amount of K-12 education spending that is excluded from the WPU is growing faster than the amount that is included in the WPU. While total WPU expenditures increased by 7.3% (includes student growth), total Minimum School Program expenditures increased by 17.7%, or about 15% on a per student basis assuming 2.8% enrollment growth.

Once all local expenditures are included -- the MSP includes a lot of local sources such as the basic and reading levy and the voted and board leeways -- the per student increase will be at least 10%. After adjusting for inflation, the per student increase will be about 7%.

While on the subject of school finance, would you please expand on this post to discuss capital equalization and where charter schools fit into this plan?

Good question. We'll elaborate on this in the next couple of weeks.

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