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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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    • 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."

    • HEADLINES: California

      Time Running Out To Request Rebates of Political Dues

      Union Watch | by Ed Ring | November 1, 2013

      Whenever anyone suggests that public sector unions are forcing their members to make political contributions, the unions retort that the contributions are strictly voluntary. Technically speaking, this is true, but the tedious process of opting out of making political contributions is a powerful deterrent.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama

      Fiscal 2015 will be the state's most challenging budget year for K-12, state superintendent says

      AL.com | by Evan Belanger | October 25, 2013

      The economy may be recovering, but Alabama State Superintendent Tommy Bice is not optimistic about future funding for K-12 education.

    • HEADLINES

      Study: Program in D.C. removed bad teachers

      USA Today | by Greg Toppo | October 21, 2013

      A controversial teacher-evaluation system put in place by former District of Columbia Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee has done what it was supposed to do, according to new findings: 

    • HEADLINES: Minnesota

      After delays caused by state budget shortages, Minn. schools seeing aid catch-up payments

      The Minneapolis Star Tribune | October 17, 2013

      A memo from the Minnesota Management and Budget agency said schools were back on their regular payment schedules as of Tuesday. To account for the past delays, most school districts will see bigger aid checks between now and next June.

    • HEADLINES: Alabama

      State Budget Chairman Says Teacher Raise Unlikely

      WNCF | October 2, 2013

      Chairman Trip Pittman said Tuesday repaying the education budget's debt to the state Rainy Day Fund is a priority for fiscal 2015 because it's required by state law.

    • HEADLINES: Wisconsin, Idaho, Kansas, South Carolina, Arizona, Alabama, Oklahoma

      Seven States Slashing School Spending

      24/7 Wall St. | by Thomas C. Frohlich and Michael B. Sauter | September 25, 2013

      While the majority of state school systems have cut spending between fiscal year 2008 and the upcoming fiscal year 2014, the cuts have been much more severe in some places than in others.

    • HEADLINES: Pennsylvania

      The Untold Story About Philadelphia Staffing Cuts

      EIA Online | by Mike Antonucci | September 25, 2013

      The financial situation at the Philadelphia School District is a nightmare, and there’s no shortage of horror stories about the layoffs of librarians, school counselors and classroom teachers. What isn’t a part of those stories is how the hiring practices of recent years exacerbated the cuts being made now.

    • HEADLINES: Illinois

      CPS to use $24M to modernize schools amid state pension crisis

      ABC7 Chicago | by Jason Knowles | September 20, 2013

      Mayor Emanuel announced new upgrades for some West Side schools, but it comes as both the city and the state face deep budget issues due to the Illinois pension crisis.

    • HEADLINES

      'Universal' preschool proposal copies costly Medicaid expansion

      Daily Caller | by Lee Schalk | September 16, 2013

      As Syria continues to dominate the news cycle, a costly White House proposal is flying under the radar: Preschool for All, an initiative that would provide “universal” pre-K for moderate-income 4 year-olds with the promise of $75 billion in federal tax dollars over 10 years.


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    • 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.

    • 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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