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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    • HEADLINES: Mississippi

      Schools feeling budget impact

      The Hattiesburg American | by Ellen Ciurczak | August 6, 2012

      In 1997, the state Legislature enacted the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, or MAEP, to provide a funding formula that would ensure a successful level of education for every public school student in the state. Since that time, MAEP has only been fully funded twice, in 1998 and 1999, according to the state Department of Education.

    • HEADLINES: South Carolina

      Plan to equalize state's K-12 spending in development

      The State | by Roddie Burris | August 6, 2012

      If adopted, lawmakers would have to provide about $947 million more annually.

    • HEADLINES: Oklahoma

      State aid shortfall keeps Oklahoma school budgets on shaky ground

      The Tulsa World | by Andrea Eger | August 3, 2012

      The school budgeting process always involves some educated guesses, but this year, local district leaders say their guessing has turned into gambling.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama

      Education fund revenue on pace to meet expenses

      The Montgomery Advertiser | by David White | August 3, 2012

      The Education Trust Fund collected $4.51 billion in October through July, the first 10 months of the state's fiscal year, an increase of $250.7 million, 5.9 percent, from the same period a year earlier, the state Finance Department reported Wednesday.

    • HEADLINES: Kentucky

      Recession, required spending has Kentucky budget in pickle

      The Louisville Courier-Journal | by Tom Loftus | July 23, 2012

      Kentucky's budget - once a barometer of the governor's and legislators' priorities - has become something far different in the past five years.

    • HEADLINES: Mississippi

      Miss. Public Schools to seek $320M increase for 2014 budget year

      The Clarion Ledger | by Jeff Amy | July 20, 2012

      In 2014, the funding formula calls for $2.356 billion. This year's appropriation would have to rise 16 percent, or $321 million, to hit the target.

    • HEADLINES: North Carolina

      NC lottery money an education lifeline, not a jackpot | July 18, 2012

      Since its inception, the North Carolina Education Lottery has brought in $2.45 billion for the state, including $457 million this year. However, $2.45 billion is not even a third of this year's education budget, and lawmakers have replaced or supplanted lottery dollars over time to help balance the state budget.

    • HEADLINES: Florida

      Uncertain times for school budgets

      The Tallahassee Democrat | by Travis Pillow | July 17, 2012

      Florida's budget picture is showing signs of improvement, according to preliminary estimates by state economists. But uncertainty still hovers over the state's education budget for the years ahead.

    • HEADLINES: Pennsylvania

      Districts fear bankruptcy as pension costs to triple

      The Scranton Times-Tribune | by Sarah Hofius Hall | July 15, 2012

      The recently passed 2012-13 state budget did nothing to address what many call the upcoming "pension crisis." From fiscal 2011-12 to 2015-16, contributions by school districts are set to triple.

    • HEADLINES: Massachusetts

      Schools welcome millions in aid

      The Boston Globe | by Kathy McCabe | July 12, 2012

      $11.3 million contained in the new state budget signed by Governor Deval Patrick last Sunday are to reimburse Massachusetts school districts that comply with the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

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      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.

    • SOLUTIONS: Mississippi

      Educating Children

      The Mississippi Center for Public Policy | December 2, 2011

      Parents should have more control over how tax funds are spent on their own children. Our state should allow more freedom for parents to choose - or even create - public schools that best meet their children's needs. T

    • SOLUTIONS: Arkansas

      Advancing Virtual Education in Arkansas

      The Arkansas Policy Foundation | December 2, 2011

      Explanation and review of virtual education in Arkansas.

    • SOLUTIONS: Arkansas

      Budget Alternative: 2011-2013 Biennium

      The Arkansas Policy Foundation | by Greg Kaza | December 2, 2011

      Funding for core Arkansas government functions-education, corrections and transportation-could occur at slightly increased rates while other operations are frozen at current levels, providing $31 million in savings to cut state income, capital gains and grocery tax rates.

    • SOLUTIONS: Louisiana

      Student Based Budgeting Viewed as Logical Extension of Charter School Movement

      The Pelican Post | by Kevin Mooney | December 2, 2011

      The idea behind student based budgeting (SBB) is for school dollars to be dispersed on a per-pupil basis and to follow individual students into schools where the principals determine how the money is best spent.

    • SOLUTIONS: Texas

      The Texas Taxpayer Savings Grant Program

      The Texas Public Policy Foundation | by Talmadge Heflin | December 2, 2011

      The Texas Taxpayer Savings Grant Program is designed to reduce the amount of general revenue spent on public education by reducing enrollment in and the associated costs of the state’s public K-12 schools. The program works by reimbursing parents and legal guardians for “the amount of actual tuition costs or 60 percent of the state average per- pupil spending maintenance and operations expenditures, whichever is less,” should they choose to enroll their child in a private school, rather than a Texas public school.

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