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School Spending

"New School Year Brings Steep Cuts in State Funding for Schools"

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A new report offers a look at the depth of states’ cuts to school spending—and concludes that funding for K-12 has, in many states, fallen below what was being spent before the recession took hold four years ago.

The Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examined spending in 24 states representing about two-thirds of the nation’s student population.

Authors Phil Oliff and Michael Leachman found that, when the numbers were adjusted for inflation, 17 of the 24 states are providing less per-student funding for the coming year than they did four years ago, in fiscal 2008. (The recession officially began in late 2007, about halfway through states’ 2008 fiscal years, according to the report.)

The estimates focus on state formula funding—and do not include separate state dollars devoted to education.

The authors said their estimates on state spending do include some emergency federal aid that has flowed to state formula funds, such as the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, but not more targeted forms of federal stimulus money.

Vol. 31, Issue 03, Page 5

Published in Print: September 14, 2011, as School Spending
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