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K-12 EDUCATION

K-12 Education

Primary and secondary education accounts for 20 percent of state general fund expenditures, making it the second largest component of state spending behind Medicaid.  That a large chunk of state budgets are devoted to K-12 education is not surprising given that together, states and  localities, pay more than 90 percent of the cost of public K-12 education, according to the State Budget Crisis Task Force.

Despite the millions of state dollars poured into K-12 education every year, America's school systems are failing to turn out successful students, as a Harvard study showed that U.S. math and reading competency scores fell below the global average. See our study "Throwing Money At Education Isn't Working" to learn what your state is pending, how students there are performing, and how that ranks with the rest of the country.

States need to fix their education problems, and they need to find budget-friendly ways to do so. Here are our Top 5 Questions to Ask Your School Board Officials About the School Budget.

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  • Research
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    • HEADLINES

      Lawmakers Jockey Over Budget Surpluses

      Stateline | by Elaine S. Povich | April 22, 2014

      According to NASBO, Kentucky and many other states have put the emphasis on restoring funding to education this year. A still incomplete survey of states showed that the vast majority are increasing elementary and secondary education funding, along with transportation and infrastructure.

    • HEADLINES: New York

      State budget deal includes bailout package for Yonkers

      The Journal News | by Jon Campbell | March 31, 2014

      The city of Yonkers' school system would be in line for a significant state bailout under a budget deal reached early Saturday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders. 

    • HEADLINES: Arizona

      State budget hits snags in Arizona House

      AZCentral.com | by Alia Beard Rau | March 25, 2014

      The biggest roadblock appeared to be a battle over whether the state should retroactively close a loophole that allows school districts to convert schools to charter schools and collect more state money per student.

    • HEADLINES: Indiana

      Indiana to become 1st state to withdraw from Common Core education standards

      Associated Press | March 24, 2014

      Indiana is the first state to withdraw from the Common Core reading and math standards that were adopted by most states around the country.

    • New York

      Legislative leaders agree to add $500M to state budget

      The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle | by Joseph Spector | March 21, 2014

      Nearly half of the money -- $240 million -- would go toward extra aid for education, in addition to the nearly $22 billion proposed for schools by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his budget proposal Jan. 21.

    • POLICY BRIEF: Pennsylvania

      Zogby: Teachers’ union using ‘budget gimmicks’ in calling for rehiring of laid-off teachers

      The Pennsylvania Independent | by Maura Pennington | November 1, 2013

      State Budget Secretary Charles Zogby said, "It's unfair to the students, to the schools, and to the SRC to be hiring people based on one-time savings. These are the kind of budget gimmicks that got the district into trouble in the first place."

    • POLICY BRIEF

      Financial Incentives Are The "Core" Of New Education Standards

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams, Joe Luppino-Esposito | June 18, 2013

      The implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative is forcing states to determine when a “good offer” becomes an offer that cannot be refused. This report will explain the issues, in terms of both finances and fedearlism, surrounding the adoption of the Commone Core.

    • RESEARCH

      The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America's Public Schools, Part II

      The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice | by Benjamin Scafidi | March 1, 2013

      Public schools grew staffing at a rate four times faster than the increase in students over that time period. Of those personnel, teachers' numbers increased 252 percent, while administrators and other non-teaching staff experienced growth of 702 percent, more than seven times the increase in students.

    • RESEARCH

      The Fiscal Effects of School Choice Programs on Public School Districts

      The Friedman Foundation for Educational Freedom | by Benjamin Scafidi | December 5, 2012

      Research shows that all forms of school choice tried in the United States have led to improvement in academic outcomes for students who remain in public schools or have led to no effect on academic outcomes for students who remain in public schools. Thus, the evidence on academic outcomes is one-sided. Greater school choice does not harm academic outcomes for students who remain in public schools.

    • RESEARCH

      New Study Finds Public School Employment Far Outpacing K-12 Student Enrollment

      The Friedman Foundation for Educational Freedom | by Benjamin Scafidi | October 25, 2012

      America's public schools saw a 96 percent increase in students but increased administrators and other non-teaching staff a staggering 702 percent since 1950, according to a new study of school personnel by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

    • SOLUTIONS

      Fiscal Issues and School Choice

      Foundation for Educational Choice | by Benjamin Scafidi | December 5, 2012

      Ben Scafidi's PowerPoint presentation, "Some Fiscal Issues and School Choice."

    • SOLUTIONS: North Carolina

      Technology in the Classroom Paying Off

      American Legislator | by John Stephenson | March 9, 2012

      With state and local education budgets under pressure and questions about student achievement front and center, administrators, parents, and teachers are now looking to advanced and increasingly less-expensive technology as a way to help address some of the current issues in education. One school district in particular, the Mooresville Graded School District, in Mooresville, NC stands out as an example of how technology can help improve student achievement in times of tightening budgets

    • SOLUTIONS: South Carolina

      Ditching No Child Left Behind - all of it

      The South Carolina Policy Council | December 2, 2011

      South Carolina should refuse federal No Child Left Behind Funds and the accompanying mandates and find a way to fund poor school districts adequately.

    • SOLUTIONS: South Carolina

      Online Learning: A Solution for South Carolina

      The South Carolina Policy Council | by Dennis J. Nielsen, Ed.D. | December 2, 2011

      Online learning can help at-risk students and is also cost-effective. Per pupil costs at the state’s virtual charter schools are an estimated 25 percent to 65 percent lower than at traditional public schools.

    • SOLUTIONS: North Carolina

      Education spending in North Carolina

      The John Locke Foundation | by Terry Stoops | December 2, 2011

      The state should discontinue the confusing practice of allocating funds to each school district using various funding formulas. Coupled with open enrollment for schools statewide, student-centered funding would ensure that schools of the parents' choosing receive funds necessary to educate each child and nothing more. The state should also implement a merit pay system for teachers that will pay a portion of their salary based on the value that they add to their students' academic performance.

    • BLOG: Washington

      Setting the stage for the 2015-17 budget debate

      by Jason Mercier | March 20, 2014

      The largest policy spending increase in the Washington State supplemental operating budget is $58 million for "K-12 materials, supplies, and operating costs." While increasing spending subject to the balance sheet to just under $33.7 billion, lawmakers left an ending fund balance of $315 million, with total reserves, including the constitutionally protect budget reserve, of $897 million.

    • BLOG: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, Alabama

      Tensions in Common Core debate are boiling over

      State Budget Solutions | by Joe Luppino-Esposito | October 1, 2013

      The fight over Common Core State Standards started quietly but has become increasingly intense as states make decisions regarding its implementation and school districts address the concerns of parents. The debate has taken harsh turn recently, with displeasure with the program that aims to make educational standards consist across states for grades K-12 coming out in a range of ways, from nasty notes from a governor to an arrest for assault. 

    • BLOG

      Common Core can't pass the cost test

      State Budget Solutions | by Joe Luppino-Esposito | August 2, 2013

      This has been a rough summer for Common Core supporters as more and more states leave the testing consortia due to high costs and uncertainty.

    • BLOG: Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, Florida

      Common Core Assessments Becoming Tough Tests To Pass

      State Budget Solutions | by Joe Luppino-Esposito | July 10, 2013

      Oklahoma became the latest state to drop out of one of the two multi-state testing consortia that received federal funds to develop academic assessments for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

    • BLOG

      Common Core raises questions about government involvement, financial and otherwise, in local issues

      by Joe Luppino-Esposito | June 14, 2013

      Putting aside the merits or shortcomings of the Common Core, accepting national standards over which states have no control weakens the role that local officials have traditionally had in K-12 education.

    • HEADLINES

      Lawmakers Jockey Over Budget Surpluses

      Stateline | by Elaine S. Povich | April 22, 2014

      According to NASBO, Kentucky and many other states have put the emphasis on restoring funding to education this year. A still incomplete survey of states showed that the vast majority are increasing elementary and secondary education funding, along with transportation and infrastructure.

    • HEADLINES: New York

      State budget deal includes bailout package for Yonkers

      The Journal News | by Jon Campbell | March 31, 2014

      The city of Yonkers' school system would be in line for a significant state bailout under a budget deal reached early Saturday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders. 

    • HEADLINES: Arizona

      State budget hits snags in Arizona House

      AZCentral.com | by Alia Beard Rau | March 25, 2014

      The biggest roadblock appeared to be a battle over whether the state should retroactively close a loophole that allows school districts to convert schools to charter schools and collect more state money per student.

    • HEADLINES: Indiana

      Indiana to become 1st state to withdraw from Common Core education standards

      Associated Press | March 24, 2014

      Indiana is the first state to withdraw from the Common Core reading and math standards that were adopted by most states around the country.

    • New York

      Legislative leaders agree to add $500M to state budget

      The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle | by Joseph Spector | March 21, 2014

      Nearly half of the money -- $240 million -- would go toward extra aid for education, in addition to the nearly $22 billion proposed for schools by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his budget proposal Jan. 21.

    • BLOG: Washington

      Setting the stage for the 2015-17 budget debate

      by Jason Mercier | March 20, 2014

      The largest policy spending increase in the Washington State supplemental operating budget is $58 million for "K-12 materials, supplies, and operating costs." While increasing spending subject to the balance sheet to just under $33.7 billion, lawmakers left an ending fund balance of $315 million, with total reserves, including the constitutionally protect budget reserve, of $897 million.

    • HEADLINES: Colorado

      CO State Budget: Balancing Wants and Needs

      Public News Service | March 17, 2014

      Henry Sobanet, director of the Office of State Planning and Budgeting, said that, while things are certainly looking up in terms of state revenue, recovery won't be instantaneous, and he also said it's important the state prepare for another economic downturn in the future.

      said that, while things are certainly looking up in terms of state revenue, recovery won't be instantaneous, and he also said it's important the state prepare for another economic downturn in the future. - See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2014-03-17/civic-engagement/co-state-budget-balancing-wants-and-needs/a38145-1#sthash.9zhtuF1P.dpufsaid that, while things are certainly looking up in terms of state revenue, recovery won't be instantaneous, and he also said it's important the state prepare for another economic downturn in the future.
      said that, while things are certainly looking up in terms of state revenue, recovery won't be instantaneous, and he also said it's important the state prepare for another economic downturn in the future. - See more at: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2014-03-17/civic-engagement/co-state-budget-balancing-wants-and-needs/a38145-1#sthash.9zhtuF1P.dpuf
    • HEADLINES: New York

      NY Senate agrees on state budget measure

      The Wall Street Journal | March 14, 2014

      The Senate's resolution includes $540 million for universal prekindergarten and after-school programs in New York City and additional funding for the rest of the state.

    • HEADLINES: Tennessee

      Tennessee House approves Common Core delay

      Tennessean | by Chas Sisk | March 14, 2014

      Tennessee lawmakers voted to delay the Common Core education program for two years, as opponents staged an ambush Thursday morning on the floor of the state House.

    • LEGISLATION: Louisiana

      Common Core likely to push state budget out of spotlight during 2014 legislative session

      New Orleans Times-Picayune | by Lauren McGaughy and Julia O'Donoghue | March 11, 2014

      This year, the fight over the one-time money and fund sweeps will likely take a back seat to what are expected to be fierce battles over education funding and control and the tougher academic standards called Common Core.