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Education Spending

"New America's Federal Education Budget Watch Project"

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A new study raises some red flags around how states portrayed their continuing support for K-12 and higher education—amid the Great Recession years—on applications for federal education jobs aid.

The Education Jobs Fund, enacted in 2010 to help states fill gaps in funding for K-12 salaries and benefits, required states to show that they planned to maintain certain levels of funding for education in fiscal 2011. States could pick from a menu of options in determining whether they qualify for the emergency aid.

Options varied depending, for example, on which year the state picked as its "base" year, or whether its tax revenue dipped between 2006 and 2009.

According to the analysis by the New America Foundation, a Washington think tank, 31 states defined so-called maintenance of effort using 2006 as the base year, assuming that tax revenues were lower in 2009 (the year before states applied) than in 2006. Yet none of those states reported a decline in funding for either K-12 or higher education from 2006 to 2011.

The report calls the numbers "curious," given that shrinking state revenues and media reports have suggested that education funds are being slashed.

Vol. 31, Issue 29, Page 5

Published in Print: April 25, 2012, as Education Spending
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