Senior Director of State Fiscal Research
The widespread drop in state support for schools over the past decade — which we’ve documented in our new report — reflects outside factors, such as weak revenues and rising costs, as well as state policy choices, such as relying on spending cuts to close budget shortfalls and cutting taxes.
Federal policymakers also cut ongoing funding for states and localities. Federal spending for Title I — the major federal assistance program for high-poverty schools — is down 8.3 percent since 2010, after adjusting for inflation. Federal spending on education for disabled students is down 6.4 percent.
Costs are rising. Costs of state-funded services have risen since the recession due to inflation, demographic changes, and rising needs. For example, there are about 1.1 million more K-12 students and 1.5 million more public college and university students now than in 2008, the U.S. Department of Education estimates.