The majority of states are funding schools below the levels reached a half-dozen years ago, before the Great Recession caused significant budget cuts, according to a report by a Washington think tank.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington-based, center-left think tank, also found that among the 30 states still below fiscal 2008 levels, 14 have funding levels that arethan they were back then, after adjusting for inflation.
The three states with the biggest declines in funding from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2015 are Oklahoma (a 23.6 percent drop), Alabama (down by 17.8 percent), and Arizona (17.5 percent lower), the center says in the report released this month.
Thirty states spent less on schools in fiscal 2015 than they did in fiscal 2008, before the Great Recession hit. State education spending is up from 2008 levels, however, in 17 other states.
SOURCE: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
That was true for the same three states in a previous report from the center comparing spending from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2014.
Among the states with the biggest per-student spending hikes from fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2014, North Dakota and Alaska remained in the top three when comparing fiscal 2008 to fiscal 2015. Where funding has increased, however, it was generally not enough to make up for the previous cuts, according to the report.
Still, the group found that most states increased their per-student spending more recently, from fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2015.
A version of this article appeared in the October 29, 2014 edition of Education Week as Education Spending Yet to Reach Pre-Recession Levels