A new study from the Center on Budget Policies and Priorities reports that Kansas reductions in K-12 education funding ranked among the deepest in the nation since 2008. Although some states have begun to increase school funding after the Great Recession, Kansas funding remains far below pre-recession levels when adjusted for inflation.
The CBPP study released by the Kansas Center for Economic Growth said Kansas has cut investment in K-12 schools by 16.5 percent since 2008 when adjusted for inflation, a deeper cut than 44 other states. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a non-partisan policy research organization based in Washington, D.C.
Here is a link to the full report from CBPP, and a PDF version.
The CBPP report looks only at state funding and uses projections for the current school year (Fiscal Year 2014) based on state appropriations. The results are consistent with KASB’s school finance calculations, which indicate total school district funding per pupil declined 8.5 percent between 2009 and 2013 when adjusted for inflation, and that current operating funds were reduced over 11 percent per pupil over the same period. The CBPP number is likely higher for several reasons: (1) School districts have offset a portion of state funding reductions by raising local option budgets; (2) local voters approved new bond issues; (3) local boards have increased local funding from fees; and (4) spending on school meal programs has increased.
Although Kansas, like many states, cut education funding when state revenues dropped during the recession, state funding in Kansas has not been able to recover because of deep cuts in state income taxes. These tax cuts have limited the state’s ability to restore education funding even though the state economy is recovering. KASB estimates that state and local funding for school district general fund and supplemental general fund budgets are at the lowest point compared to total Kansas personal income since at least the 1970’s.
For additional information on Kansas school funding, go to my recent blog, “What is the real state of Kansas school spending?”