Center for Public Education’s report concludes that
deep cuts in education funding are hurting our nation’s school children
Alexandria, Va. (October 7, 2010) – Today, the Center for Public Education (the Center) released a new report that focuses on the dire state of funding for the nation’s K-12 schools.
“Cutting to the Bone: How the Economic Crisis Affects Schools” notes that public K-12 education usually is one of the last areas to face the budget axe, but most districts today are suffering from declines in both state and local funding. At the same time, many also face dramatic cost increases in areas ranging from utilities to pension funds, forcing school leaders to make tough decisions between balanced budgets and student needs.
“The current system of school funding isn't working for our students,” said Jim Hull, Senior Policy Analyst at the Center. “With no fat to cut, schools are forced to cut effective educational programs that directly impact student achievement. Such cuts will not only impair student achievement but also impede our economic competitiveness for years to come. For schools to succeed in the long run, school boards, other policymakers, and the public need to reexamine how public education is funded at the local, state, and federal levels.”
The report notes that although the recession technically ended in 2009, district budgets are not expected to regain their pre-recession (2008) funding levels until late in the decade, for a number of reasons:
- Reduced local revenues from real estate taxes. Home prices are not likely to return to their 2006 highs for several years.
- Lagging state budgets. State revenues might recover to pre-recession levels by 2014, taking inflation into account, but the cost of providing the same services will have risen at a significantly higher rate due to increased demand for Medicaid and other state programs with high cost increases. Most states also will have to increase contributions to state employees’ retirement funds, which are substantially underfunded.
- Reduced funding from federal stimulus programs. State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) helped districts limit their budget cuts, but those funds are expected to run out by 2011. The new Education Jobs Fund could mitigate part of the blow in 2011 and 2012.
“Federal stimulus and education jobs funds are simply tourniquets for hemorrhaging local and state education budgets,” Hull said. “Under the current system the funding outlook is quite bleak. Yet at the same time, all students are expected to achieve at increasingly higher levels.
We need a new system that stops the bleeding permanently by providing reliable and sustainable funding for public education. What that new system looks like should be the subject of a serious national conversation that leads to a real solution.”
# # #
The Center for Public Education (www.centerforpubliceducation.org) is a national resource for credible and practical information about public education and its importance to the well-being of our nation. The Center provides up-to-date research, data, and analysis on current education issues and explores ways to improve student achievement and engage public support for public schools. The Center is an initiative of the National School Boards Association.
Founded in 1940, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is a not-for-profit organization representing state associations of school boards and their 95,000 local school board members throughout the U.S. Working with and through our state associations, NSBA advocates for equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. www.nsba.org
View the report, “Cutting to the Bone : How the Economic Crisis Affects Schools”