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, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington

      Williams Report - September 15, 2014

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | September 15, 2014

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

    • HEADLINES: Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Virginia, Wisconsin

      Williams Report - September 2, 2014

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | September 2, 2014

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



    • 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.

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      Tough Questions to Ask Your School District

      January 28, 2011

      Many education officials will say that the state's method of funding schools is "broken" and that you should contact your state legislators and demand "fair," "sustainable" or "adequate" funding for public schools. Before you decide whether or not you agree with your local school officials, ask them these questions first.

    • SOLUTIONS: Indiana

      Citizen's Checklist

      January 28, 2011

      The Citizens’ Checklist outlines a series of adjustments that all stakeholders in K-12 education should consider, discuss and implement in order to avoid or minimize any reduction in teaching staff that affects classroom instruction and learning.


      3 Budget Strategies for Broke States

      January 26, 2011

      There are three directional strategies that state policy makers will need to incorporate during this decade long inflection. State policy makers need to lead on school based budgeting, blended learning, and performance-based employment.


      Curing Baumol's Disease: In Search of Productivity Gains in K-12 Schooling

      The Center on Reinventing Public Education | by Paul Hill, Marguerite Roza | June 1, 2010

      The phenomenon, of rising costs without commensurate increases in output, has been labeled Baumol’s cost disease.  While education differs in important ways from other service sectors, improvement in productivity in other economic sectors may hold important lessons for understanding how the education system can become more efficient and effective. Ways to improve productivity in education include finding efficiencies at every level, differential pay for teachers, outsourcing services and focusing on an academic mission.


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

      April 15, 2010

      The Evergreen Freedom Foundations' ideas to cut waste, balance the budget and stimulate the budget without raising taxes.

    • SOLUTIONS: New York

      Blueprint for a Better Budget

      April 9, 2010

      The document explains why and how New York state developed such massive budget deficits and identifies programmatic changes to begin closing the gaps, including privatization and competitive contracting, cost reductions and tax policy goals to promote economic growth.

    • SOLUTIONS: Illinois

      Budget Solutions 2011: A New Way Forward

      by Illinois Policy Institute | April 6, 2010

      A detailed, comprehensive alternative budgeting plan addressing Illinois' immediate financial problems focused on three key elements: spending reallignment, right-sizing government labor costs and pension fund reform.


      Weighted Student Formula Produces Good Results In Some of the Country's Biggest Cities

      Reason Foundation | April 30, 2009

      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. At least 15 major school districts have moved to this system of backpack funding. Reason Foundation's new Weighted Student Formula Yearbook examines how the budgeting system is being implemented in each of these places and, based on the real-world data, creates a series of "best practices" that other districts and states can follow to improve the quality of their schools. The results from districts using student-based funding are promising.

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