The world is bracing for an economic recession if not worse, due to the coronavirus pandemic. But to what extent would a financial nosedive take school spending with it?
We have some estimates from Michael Griffith, a veteran school finance analyst. Relying on data from the Congressional Research Service and other sources, Griffith created an analysis that we put into chart form. See the interactive graphic below to find out—once you factor in $13.5 billion of emergency aid from the CARES Act—how much state spending cuts could impact per-pupil spending, depending on how deep those cuts are. Go here to read more about Griffith’s analysis, as well as some important caveats. (The CARES Act, of course, might not be the last time Congress sends schools coronavirus relief money.)
The short answer? With a cut of 3 or 4 percent to their own school spending, many states would come out ahead. But in a hypothetical world with an across-the-board 8 percent reduction in state K-12 spending? Every state loses out.
Image: Teresa Patton, a night custodial supervisor with the Fort Zumwalt School District, sprays a bleach disinfectant in the classrooms of Progress South Elementary in O’Fallon, Mo., last month. With the introduction of the coronavirus, the district purchased three additional machines to clean 2 million square feet of space inside the district’s buildings. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)