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K-12 Funding Remains Below Pre-Recession Levels in Most States

Most states continue to spend less — often far less — per student for kindergarten through 12th grade than they did seven years ago, our updated analysis of state general school funding shows.

Our review of state budgets finds that, after adjusting for inflation:

  • At least 30 states are providing less funding per student for the 2014-15 school year than they did before the recession hit (see chart).  Fourteen of these states have cut per-student funding by more than 10 percent.  (Our analysis focuses on funding distributed through general aid formulas, the primary form of state aid to local schools.)
  • The four states with the deepest cuts — Oklahoma, Alabama, Arizona, and Idaho — each have reduced per-student funding by more than 15 percent from pre-recession levels.
  • Most states are providing more funding per student in the new school year than they did a year ago, but funding generally has not increased enough to fully offset cuts in past years.  For example, Alabama is increasing school funding by $16 per pupil this year — but that’s after cutting it by $1,144 per pupil over the previous six years.
  • At least 20 states cut per-student funding this year.  In most of these states, the cuts added to those the states had made in previous years, leaving them even further behind pre-recession levels.


Click here to read the full paper.