29 states – including Wisconsin – spent less on schools in 2015 than in 2008, report finds

It’s been a “punishing decade for school funding,” according to a national report released Wednesday by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Wisconsin is among those states suffering from a loss of state funding for public schools, with a 4.1% drop from 2008 to 2015, according to the report.

“Public investment in K-12 schools — crucial for communities to thrive and the U.S. economy to offer broad opportunity — has declined dramatically in a number of states over the last decade,” the report says. “Worse, some of the deepest-cutting states have also cut income tax rates, weakening their main revenue source for supporting schools.

“Most states cut school funding after the recession hit, and it took years for states to restore their funding to pre-recession levels. In 2015, the latest year for which comprehensive spending data are available from the U.S. Census Bureau, 29 states were still providing less total school funding per student than they were in 2008.”

Among the impacts of declining education funding, the report notes, is to thwart efforts for school reform and school improvement.

“Many states have undertaken education reforms such as supporting professional development to improve teacher quality, improving interventions for young children to heighten school readiness, and turning around the lowest-achieving schools,” it states. “Deep cuts in state K-12 spending can undermine those reforms by limiting the funds generally available to improve schools and by terminating or undercutting specific reform initiatives.”

Reforms endangered by funding cuts include:

  • Improving teacher quality.
  • Trimming class size.
  • Expanding learning time.
  • Providing high-quality early education.

Read the entire report:

A Punishing Decade for School Funding

Public investment in K-12 schools has declined dramatically in a number of states over the last decade.Public investment in K-12 schools – crucial for communities to thrive and the U.S. economy to offer broad opportunity – has declined dramatically in a number of states over the last decade.