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: California, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina

      Williams Report - August 25, 2014

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | August 25, 2014

      Join us on Twitter today by following @StateBudgets and tweeting with the hashtag #SBSBob.

    • HEADLINES: California, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina , Pennsylvania, Washington, Louisiana, Montana, Virginia

      Williams Report - June 23, 2014

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | June 23, 2014

      The latest news from State Budget Solutions, including commentary from Bob Williams. Tweet #SBSBob to talk about state budget and pension headlines throughout the nation.

    • HEADLINES: Oklahoma, North Carolina , South Carolina, Indiana

      Common Core is taking a permanent summer vacation in several states

      State Budget Solutions | by Hannah Oh | June 9, 2014

      Multiple state efforts to repeal the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have culminated in success in recent weeks. 

    • HEADLINES: Louisiana

      Louisiana House gives final passage to $24.6B state budget | May 30, 2014

      The Louisiana House gave final passage Friday to a $24.6 billion budget to finance state government operations next year, agreeing to the version written by the Senate.

    • HEADLINES: Oklahoma

      Oklahoma House approves $7.1 billion state budget bill | by Randy Ellis | May 23, 2014

      The state House of Representatives on Thursday approved a $7.1 billion state appropriations bill that allocates about $80 million in new revenue for common education and $37.1 million for pay raises to some of the state's must underpaid state employees.

    • HEADLINES: Louisiana

      Proposal seeks to plug holes in state budget

      The Shreveport Times | by Mike Hasten | May 21, 2014

      Spending needs have changed since Louisiana's 2013-14 budget was adopted a year ago, leaving holes in the plan, and some things ended up being overfunded, providing money to plug those holes.

    • HEADLINES: Oklahoma

      Oklahoma Senate approves $7.1B state budget bill

      Businessweek | by Sean Murphy | May 21, 2014

      The bill would appropriate about $102 million less than the current budget, but would still boost funding for public schools by $80 million.

    • HEADLINES: North Carolina

      McCrory unveils $21B NC budget for next year

      The News & Observer | May 15, 2014

      The Republican governor said what's still included is the signature piece of his plan he announced last week- raises for public school teachers and almost all state employees.

    • HEADLINES: North Carolina

      McCrory to describe pay-raise path in NC budget | May 14, 2014

      Gov. Pat McCrory's proposed adjustments to the North Carolina state government budget are expected to show how he'll pay for teacher and state employee salary increases next year.

    • HEADLINES: South Carolina

      Senators Working on $6.9 Billion State Budget | by Jennifer Bellamy | May 7, 2014

      The budget plan expands 4-year-old kindergarten and school reading initiatives but de-prioritizes money to local governments.

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    • SOLUTIONS: Michigan

      Top 10 Budget Recommendations

      The Mackinac Center for Public Policy | by Jack McHugh | November 29, 2011

      Converting these statistics into actual budget savings involves a combination of straightforward "eat your vegetables" cuts, and process innovations like privatization that generate savings through "second-order" incentive changes throughout the system.

    • SOLUTIONS: Wisconsin

      Benefit Reform Could Save School Districts Hundreds of Million$

      The MacIver Institute | November 29, 2011

      Public officials can help alleviate their budget crunches by offering competitive, not exorbitant benefits.

    • SOLUTIONS: Indiana

      Collective Bargaining Reform: Key to Improving Teacher Quality; Improving Student Outcomes, and Instituting School Choice through Student-Centered Funding in Indiana

      Indiana Policy Review | by Lisa Snell | November 29, 2011

      Student-centered funding systems have demonstrating results in equalizing funding for all students, closing the achievement gap and improving high school outcomes in school districts across the United States. This school finance mechanism seems especially suited for Indiana where the majority of school funding is already allocated at the state level.

    • SOLUTIONS: Washington

      Top 10 Ideas to Cut Waste, Balance the Budget and Stimulate the Economy Without Raising Taxes

      The Freedom Foundation | by Amber Gunn | November 4, 2011

      Ten ideas to cut waste and balance the buget without raising taxes, including more efficient K-12 funding, spending high education tax dollars more wisely and rein in state employee salaries and benefits.

    • SOLUTIONS: Nevada

      Transforming Education in Nevada Through High-Quality Digital Learning

      The Nevada Policy Research Institute | by Steven Miller, Dan Lips | November 3, 2011

      Online learning would provide students with much educational options.  It offers a real prospect of superior results, coupled with lower costs.

    • SOLUTIONS: Colorado

      Balancing Innovation, Accountability in Cyberschools

      The Independence Institute | by Pam Benigno | October 31, 2011

      Technological advances are continually creating new opportunities to effectively educate Colorado's K-12 students through online learning. Colorado needs to look forward in protecting an environment for innovation, while balancing needed accountability for cyberschool operators.

    • SOLUTIONS: New Mexico

      Resolving New Mexico’s $450 million Deficit (without raising taxes or cutting K-12 education and Medicaid)

      The Rio Grande Foundation | by Paul J. Gessing and Kevin Rollins | October 31, 2011

      despite constraints that are both political and self-imposed, we believe that it is quite possible to reduce unnecessary and wasteful spending throughout the New Mexico budget. In order to provide a guide for policymakers, the Rio Grande Foundation has compiled a list of specific budget reduction ideas.

    • SOLUTIONS: Texas

      School Choice in Texas: Where We Are, and Where We Should Be

      The Texas Public Policy Foundation | by James Golsan | October 1, 2011

      Texas should open up virtual education in Texas and also allow greater flexibility within the public education system itself.


      Weighted Student Formula Yearbook

      Reason Foundation | by Lisa Snell | September 23, 2011

      Weighted student formula changes that. Using weighted student formula’s decentralized system, education funds are attached to each student and the students can take that money directly to the public school of their choice. Reason Foundation’s Weighted Student Formula Yearbook examines how the budgeting system is being implemented in different districts and, based on the real-world data, creates a series of “best practices” that states can follow to improve the quality of their schools.


      Fix the Schools

      Reason Foundation | by Lisa Snell | September 23, 2011
      Close failing schools, open charter schools and replicate great schools.

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