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: 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 | 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.

    • 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: 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:
    • 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.

    • HEADLINES: New Mexico

      Governor Martinez signs $6B state budget

      KRQE | by Lysee Mitri | March 11, 2014

      As signed, the $6.15 billion budget increases state spending by 4.3% over the current fiscal year. Education spending increases by 5.75% to a record high of $2.7 billion.

    • HEADLINES: Colorado

      As Colorado legislature enters second half, budget is among top priorities

      The Denver Post | by Kurtis Lee | March 10, 2014

      At the midway point of the session, dozens of bills with fiscal impacts remain in House and Senate appropriations committees, where some are likely to be rejected.

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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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