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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  • Commentary

      The Common Core Standards: States have a choice, and must decide wisely

      by Joe Luppino-Esposito | June 25, 2013

      States will soon begin implementing the Common Core Standards for K-12 education, and critics from both sides of the aisle, with varied concerns, have become more vocal in their opposition. State leaders must learn that all that glitters is not gold and pay closer attention to the educational and fiscal impact of adopting the CCSS. 

    • HEADLINES: New Jersey

      $32.9B NJ budget clears legislative committees

      Businessweek | by Angela Delli Santi | June 21, 2013

      The negotiated budget is similar to the one Gov. Chris Christie proposed in February.

    • HEADLINES: Wisconsin

      Wisconsin lawmakers approve $68 billion state budget

      Yahoo! News | by Brendan O'Brien | June 21, 2013

      The proposed budget, which contained a $650 million income tax cut over the next two years, was approved by the Republican-led Assembly with a 55-42 vote on Wednesday.

    • HEADLINES: Rhode Island

      Top RI lawmakers unveil proposed $8.2B state budget | by Ted Nesi | June 19, 2013

      Lawmakers unveiled a proposed state budget Tuesday evening that would boost funding for education significantly without increasing broad-based taxes or fees.

    • HEADLINES: Oregon

      Oregon school budget fails, back to table for negotiators

      The Oregonian | by Christian Gaston | June 18, 2013

      Efforts to seal a budget deal for Oregon's public schools spiraled further into uncertainty Monday when a key spending bill failed on the Senate floor and partisan wrangling continued over public pension costs and possible tax increases.


      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.

    • HEADLINES: California

      Jerry Brown, lawmakers come to terms on key budget issues

      The Los Angeles Times | by Chris Megerian and Anthony York | June 11, 2013

      Governor wins important victories involving redistribution of money for schools and how much revenue to expect to be coming in for the state.

    • HEADLINES: Louisiana

      Lawmakers transcend party lines to approve new state budget | by Monica Hernandez | June 7, 2013

      Representatives erupted into celebration after the unanimous passage of a $25 billion budget just hours before the session wrapped up. The Senate had approved the budget shortly before the House vote.

    • Wisconsin

      State budget affects schools in ways beyond vouchers

      The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | by Erin Richards | June 6, 2013

      School funding and the long and rollicking debate over whether - and how - to offer private school vouchers to children in cities beyond Milwaukee and Racine took top billing on the education stage during Wisconsin's state budget deliberations.

    • HEADLINES: Michigan

      Common Core standards funding officially blocked in new Michigan budget after Senate vote | by Brian Smith | June 6, 2013

      Michigan is poised to became the second state to "pause" implementation of the Common Core State Standards for math and language arts education Tuesday after the state Senate approved a budget barring funding for the guidelines.

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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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