Education Funding

Medicaid Eats Up More of State Budgets, While Education Slips

By Sean Cavanagh — December 14, 2011 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The portion of state budgets consumed by Medicaid, the state/federal health care program for the poor, is growing, while the portion flowing to education has dipped a bit, a new report shows.

If that trend holds, it could carry implications for the squeeze on K-12 going forward, particularly if states’ efforts to climb out of recessionary depths prove to be as difficult as some predict.

As a percentage of total state spending, the amount devoted to Medicaid was 21.9 percent in fiscal 2009, but is expected to rise to an estimated 23.6 percent in fiscal 2011, according to a state expenditure report released this week by the National Association of State Budget Officers. Those increases have been driven in part by rising enrollment (probably not surprising during a bad economy) and rising health care costs. Total state spending on Medicaid jumped by an estimated 10 percent in fiscal 2011.

Spending on elementary and secondary education, meanwhile, which was 21.5 percent of state budgets in fiscal 2009, is expected to fall to an estimated 20.1 percent in fiscal 2011, NASBO says.

Education still takes up the largest share of states’ overall general fund spending—35.3 percent in fiscal 2010—the report explains, while Medicaid is second, at 15.8 percent. Higher education accounts for 11.6 percent of those budgets. Those three categories, combined, make up about two-thirds of states’ total general-fund spending.

All of which suggests that competition from other sources in the budget is yet another factor—along with other political and economic pressures—likely to squeeze K-12 in the months and years ahead.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Reported Essay Are We Asking Schools to Do Too Much?
Schools are increasingly being saddled with new responsibilities. At what point do we decide they are being overwhelmed?
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Education Funding Interactive Look Up How Much COVID Relief Aid Your School District is Getting
The federal government gave schools more than $190 billion to help them recover from the pandemic. But the money was not distributed evenly.
2 min read
Education Funding Explainer Everything You Need to Know About Schools and COVID Relief Funds
How much did your district get in pandemic emergency aid? When must the money be spent? Is there more on the way? EdWeek has the answers.
11 min read
090221 Stimulus Masks AP BS
Dezirae Espinoza wears a face mask while holding a tube of cleaning wipes as she waits to enter Garden Place Elementary School in Denver for the first day of in-class learning since the start of the pandemic.
David Zalubowski/AP
Education Funding Why Dems' $82 Billion Proposal for School Buildings Still Isn't Enough
Two new reports highlight the severe disrepair the nation's school infrastructure is in and the crushing district debt the lack of federal and state investment has caused.
4 min read
Founded 55 years ago, Foust Elementary received its latest update 12-25 years ago for their HVAC units. If the school receives funds from the Guilford County Schools bond allocation, they will expand classrooms from the back of the building.
Community members in Guilford, N.C. last week protested the lack of new funding to improve the district's crumbling school facilities.
Abby Gibbs/News & Record via AP