October 1st is a significant date for all schools across the nation. The Utah State Office of Education verifies the student enrollment by district as of October 1st for use in the distribution of state funds to each district and charter school. The Utah legislature allocates most K-12 funds in Weighted Pupil Units (WPU) according in part to the number of students enrolled on October 1st. The value of the WPU for each student for the 2015-16 school year is $3,092. The legislature allocates other funds based on various formulas, comprising 70% of Garfield’s total maintenance and operations revenue. The federal government also provides funds based on student counts, at 4% of the total. The remaining 26% is generated by Garfield taxpayers and other local sources.
According to Census data released in May of 2015 for FY 2013, New York State spent the most per student at $19,818, and Utah the least at $6,555. The national average was $10,700. Utah’s lowest ranking places it behind every state and the District of Columbia. For Utah to reach the national average, it would need to spend 63% more than it does.
With state and federal funds tied directly to student enrollment, accurate tracking is imperative to ensure the daily operation of schools. The October 1, 2015 student count is 922. Although Garfield County School District’s enrollment decreased by only four students from last year, it has lost 127 students since 2001.
Superintendent Ben Dalton
Garfield County School District