State Funding for K-12 Education Remains below 2008 Levels!


Dear Commons Community,

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research and policy institute, has just published a study indicating that state funding of K-12 education has declined significantly over the past decade.  Here is an excerpt:

“Our survey, the most up-to-date data available on state and local funding for schools, also indicates that, after adjusting for inflation:

  • Thirty-five states provided less overall state funding per student in the 2014 school year (the most recent year available) than in the 2008 school year, before the recession took hold. 
  • In 27 states, local government funding per student fell over the same period, adding to the damage from state funding cuts.  In states where local funding rose, those increases rarely made up for cuts in state support.”
  • At least 23 states will provide less “general” or “formula” funding—the primary form of state support for elementary and secondary schools—in the current school year (2017) than when the Great Recession took hold in 2008, our survey of state budget documents finds…
  • Eight states have cut general funding per student by about 10 percent or more over this period. Five of those eight —Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin enacted income tax rate cuts costing tens or hundreds of millions of dollars each year rather than restore education funding….”

Our country’s future depends heavily on the quality of its schools.  Increasing financial support can help K-12 schools implement proven reforms such as hiring and retaining excellent teachers, reducing class sizes, and expanding the availability of high-quality early education.  So it’s problematic that so many states have headed in the opposite direction over the last decade.  These cuts risk undermining schools’ capacity to develop the intelligence and creativity of the next generation of workers and entrepreneurs.


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