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: 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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