Most States Funding Schools Less Than Before the Recession

- September 12th, 2013
   

States’ new budgets are providing less per-pupil funding for kindergarten through 12th grade than they did six years ago — often far less.  The reduced levels reflect not only the lingering effects of the 2007-09 recession but also continued austerity in many states; indeed, despite some improvements in overall state revenues, schools in around a third of states are entering the new school year with less state funding than they had last year.  At a time when states and the nation are trying to produce workers with the skills to master new technologies and adapt to the complexities of a global economy, this decline in state educational investment is cause for concern.

This Center on Budget and Policy Priorities review of state budget documents finds that:

  • At least 34 states are providing less funding per student for the 2013-14 school year than they did before the recession hit.  Thirteen of these states have cut per-student funding by more than 10 percent.  (These figures, like all the comparisons in this paper, are in inflation-adjusted dollars and focus on the primary form of state aid to local schools.)
  • At least 15 states are providing less funding per student to local school districts in the new school year than they provided a year ago.  This is despite the fact that most states are experiencing modest increases in tax revenues. 
  • Where funding has increased, it has generally not increased enough to make up for cuts in past years.  For example, New Mexico is increasing school funding by $72 per pupil this year.  But that is too small to offset the state’s $946 per-pupil cut over the previous five years. 

Restoring school funding should be an urgent priority.  The steep state-level K-12 spending cuts of the last several years have serious consequences for the nation.

To read the full report, visit the CBPP website.