LDS Church and Public Education

Much praise is being heaped upon the new City Creek Center that now graces the center of Salt Lake City and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints along with it.

I have heard many people saying that the project is largely responsible for keeping Salt Lake City and Utah from falling to the same depths during this economic downturn as the rest of the country.

The LDS Church recognizes that an economically weak city does not draw the visitors and investment that it needs to thrive, and that a beautifully manicured Temple Square and Main Street Plaza looked out of place next to empty, vandalized store fronts.

I am impressed by the church’s foresight and ambition in taking on such a massive project.

That same kind of vision and foresight can be applied to other needs in our state and the investment will pay off just as much or more than those made in City Creek. I propose that the LDS Church next invest in the education of Utah students.

Let’s entertain the possibilities for a moment. I will take as a jumping off point the $2 billion reported to have been invested in the project over four years, or $500 million a year. What if that were applied to Utah’s public schools?

The money could be used in numerous ways, or combination of ways. It could pay for thousands of new teachers, which could lower the average class size significantly. It could allow teachers to have needed materials, and buy classroom sets of iPads for every student.

Or, what is the annual interest from a $2 billion endowment? It could assist…

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