2017 PPI Score
School Choice Score: 62%
The Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship Program was enacted and launched in 2005. Under this program, students with special needs are eligible to receive private school vouchers of variable amounts.
Charter Schools Score: 78%
Utah earns a C in our rankings. Although the state provides equitable funding for charter schools, caps place limits on charter school growth, and authorizing policies limit the autonomy of teachers and charter operators. These factors lower Utah’s score.
- Fast Facts
- Law Passed in 1998
- Number of Charters: 125
- Estimated Charter Enrollment: 71,500 (up 10 percent from 2015-16)
- Utah does not have a cap on the number of charter schools, but the state annually updates an enrollment cap, which has not been a substantial obstacle to enrollment growth.
- Online charter schools are permitted
- Charters can contract with EMOs and CMOs for management purposes
- Utah scores 9 out of 15 points for “authorizing.” The law allows both districts and the Utah State Charter School Board to authorize charter schools. Universities may sponsor schools, but the law requires local universities to receive final authorization from the state board. Utah’s university sponsors are not independent authorizers, and this lowers the state’s score. However, the Utah Charter School Board operates autonomously from the State Board of Education, which means it is not as vulnerable to political pressure. This raises Utah’s score.
- Utah receives 9 out of 15 points for “growth.” The state does not cap the number of students who can be enrolled in a particular school, but it does cap the number of students enrolled in charter schools. The current number of students allowed to attend charter schools is 71,500. Any arbitrary limitation on the number of students who can attend charter schools denies families opportunities.
- Utah earns 12 out of 20 points for “operations.” Schools must request a waiver from state government to operate freely of most regulations, which means that any schools are highly regulated. Additionally, charter school teachers are subject to the same certification requirements as their district counterparts. This prevents charter operators from assembling the staffs they desire.
Utah earns 8.5 out of 15 for “funding equity.” The state provides operating funds for charters, but those funds are subject to budget fluctuations. This means that charters normally operate with less funding than district schools. Charter schools receive additional per-pupil funding as part of a local revenue replacement program. The program requires that at least 10 percent of funding must be spent on facilities.
Teacher Quality Score: 78%
Delivering Well Prepared Teachers C
Expanding the Pool of Teachers D+
Identifying Effective Teachers D+
Retaining Effective Teachers B
Exiting Ineffective Teachers B-