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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      Lawmakers Jockey Over Budget Surpluses

      Stateline | by Elaine S. Povich | April 22, 2014

      According to NASBO, Kentucky and many other states have put the emphasis on restoring funding to education this year. A still incomplete survey of states showed that the vast majority are increasing elementary and secondary education funding, along with transportation and infrastructure.

    • 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.

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    • SOLUTIONS: Ohio

      Ten Ideas to Fix Cleveland's Schools

      Reason Foundation | by Lisa Snell | September 23, 2011

      Schools should receive revenue in the same way that the district receives revenue, on a per-pupil basis reflecting the enrollment at a school and the individual characteristics of students at each school.

    • SOLUTIONS: Georgia

      Realigning Georgia’s Fiscal Priorities

      The Georgia Public Policy Foundation | by Kelly McCutchen | September 9, 2011

      Nearly every school system has a "Taj Mahal" tale, whether of grand buildings or fancy stadiums, because they are forced to spend E-SPLOST revenue on capital projects. But Georgians, like all Americans, have been hit hard by the recession and are ready to see government prioritize needs. Our top ten ranking in capital spending for education is a good place to start. Addressing problems like traffic congestion will require more money. But we must first take every available opportunity to realign spending to limit the tax burden on our families and businesses.

    • SOLUTIONS: Nebraska

      Pro-Growth Strategy for Nebraska

      The Platte Institute | by Eric Thompson | September 1, 2011

      This report focuses on limiting the regulatory burden in the state and other types of recommendations to improve growth.

    • SOLUTIONS: Texas

      2011 Texas Budget Solutions

      The Texas Public Policy Foundation provides a host of potential budget solutions for the 2011 Texas state budget. Their solutions cover a broad range of categories from education to tax policy. Take a look!

    • SOLUTIONS: Maine

      Maine's School Budget Validation Process Saves Tax Dollars

      The Maine Heritage Policy Center | by Steve Bowen | February 28, 2011

      Under current law, most school budgets are first approved by those who are able to attend a district-wide public meeting. That approval is then "validated" by voters through a referendum vote. In this way, those who are unable to attend the district meeting, such as those serving in our armed forces overseas, have an opportunity to make their voices heard.

    • SOLUTIONS: Colorado

      K-12 Funding Issue Brief

      Independence Institute | February 28, 2011

      he report lays out a road map for Colorado policy makers to implement policies that would close next year's billion-dollar budget problem and establish a sustainable trend line for balanced budgets into the future, with no increase in taxes or fees.

    • SOLUTIONS: Florida

      Education Savings Accounts

      The Goldwater Institute | by Matthew Ladner and Nick Dranias | February 28, 2011

      Children with disabilities are often poorly served by public schools. In 1999, Florida created a school voucher for children with disabilities called the McKay Scholarship Program. This program allows children with disabilities to take a portion of the funding the state would spend on their education and use it at any school they choose - whether that's a traditional public school, a charter school, an online program, or a private school.

    • SOLUTIONS: Alabama

      Charter Schools in Alabama

      Alabama Policy Institute | February 28, 2011

      Charter schools are independent public schools authorized through a charter agreement with a
      sponsor--usually a school district, state governmental body, or university. Unlike traditional public
      schools, charter schools are overseen by a governing board of parents and members of the local

    • SOLUTIONS: Washington

      Questions for Legislators and School Boards for K-12 Education

      February 1, 2011

      Public education is a huge expense in state budgets.  It is important to know how much of the taxpayer dollars actually reach the classroom and what the taxpayers are getting for that investment.  Here are questions to ask of legislators, school board members and school officials.


      Bill Gates: Turn step raises into merit pay; save money by increasing class sizes

      January 28, 2011

      Microsoft founder says schools can improve by better utilizing shrinking resources.

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