New report reveals recession's effects on per pupil spending

A new report from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reveals the impact that the Recession has had on state education spending. Using data from 48 states that publish their funding data , researchers found that:

  • 35 states are funding education per student at pre-recession levels.
  • 26 states have decreased education funding per student since last year.
  • 3 states (Alabama, Arizona, and Oklahoma) have cut K-12 per pupil spending by more than 20 percent.
  • 328,000 jobs have been eliminated by local school districts since July 2008.

Washington’s per student spending has gone down by $140 since 2008. When adjusted for inflation, this is a 2.8 percent decrease in spending. In the light of the McCleary ruling that states that Washington is failing to fully fund schools, this downward funding trend is set to end.

According to the report, cuts in education spending have drastic and long reaching effects such as undermining education initiatives, placing more pressure on property taxes, and because of job cuts, decreasing consumer demand.

However, there are a few states that have managed to increase or stabilize their per student spending since the recession. Some states, such as Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming were not as deeply affected by the recession as others.  Maryland raised a large amount of revenue before the recession which state lawmakers were able to rely on after the economy began to drop off. Massachusetts and Iowa lawmakers kept education funding a priority even in the face of other budget cuts.

Read the full report here.

Click on the map below to see how much individual states are spending on education per student.


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