In the last part of the 1800s there was much controversy over how children in the area should be educated. Mormon influence in public schools created problems with non-Mormon parents, and raised issues about public school supervision. Mormons became upset about the number of private Protestant schools popping up. The schools would offer free tuition to Mormon students in order to convert them. Westminster College, although now a secular four-year college, is the last remaining example of these schools. LDS Church members also resented non-Mormon influences in the public schools and began to focus once again on efforts to develop church-run schools.
Many Mormon youths in grades 9–12 attend some form of religious instruction, referred to as seminary. In years past students would attend during school hours and even receive credit for it. Although many still attend during school hours, they no longer receive any credit.
Due to high birth rates and large classrooms Utah spends less per capita on students than any other state. Money is always a challenge and many businesses donate to support schools. Several districts have set up foundations to raise money.