K-12 Funding and FY 2014 State Budgets
State officials are concerned about sluggish revenue, rebuilding budget reserves, and long term spending trends – especially for K-12 education. While most state officials expect revenues to meet, and in some cases exceed, FY 2014 forecasts, other states expect to miss their revenue forecast. In either situation, state officials remain concerned about slow revenue growth and continued spending trends.
State Revenue increases funding for Education
According to the National Conference of State Legislators’ State Budget Update: Spring 2014, revenue is expected to exceed FY 2014 forecasts Texas, California, New Mexico, North Dakota, Kansas, Arkansas, Georgia, New York, and Vermont. The excess revenue impact on funding for education differs from state to state.
In California, as a result of $965 million above expected revenue, lawmakers are considering providing additional funding for K-12. In Kansas, will increase its funding for education by $121 million, according the school board association. The spending is aimed at equalizing state aid payments for poor school districts for operations and capital improvements.
Texas is expected to receive $3.7 billion above projected revenue forecast, according the to an article published in the Houston Chronicle. The 2014-15 budget provides $3.2 billion more in General Revenue to the Texas Education
Agency than the budget for the 2012-2013 biennium. The budget also increased funding for textbooks as well as providing additional funds to protect the fiscal health of the teacher retirement system.
Education Funding Below Pre-Recession Levels
States’ new budgets are providing less per-pupil funding for kindergarten through 12th grade than they did six years ago — often far less, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The reduced levels reflect not only the lingering effects of the 2007-09 recession but also continued austerity in many states; indeed, despite some improvements in overall state revenues, schools in around a third of states are entering the new school year with less state funding than they had last year.
At least 35 states are providing less funding per student for the 2013-14 school year than they did before the recession hit. Fourteen of these states have cut per-student funding by more than 10 percent. (These figures, like all the comparisons in this paper, are in inflation-adjusts dollars and focus on the primary form of state aid to local schools.)
At least 15 states are providing less funding per student to local school districts in the new school year than they provided a year ago. This is despite the fact that most states are experiencing modest increases in tax revenues.
Where funding has increased, it has generally not increased enough to make up for cuts in past years. For example, New Mexico is increasing school funding by $72 per pupil this year. But that is too small to offset the state’s $946 per-pupil cut over the previous five years