Arkansas among states losing ground on school spending | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 21, 2016

Arkansas among states losing ground on school spending

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 11:41 AM

Interesting statistics in a Washington Post article on education spending.

Many states, including Arkansas, are spending less on education since 2008, before the big recession.

In total K-12 spending from 2008 to 2014, Arkansas actually spent 1.2 percent more, one of a handful of states that registered an increase. But a broader look, at inflation adjusted state school formula spending between 2008 and 2017, Arkansas was among 23 states shown with a decline in spending. Arkansas's drop was 5.7 percent.

In theory in Arkansas, the legislature must decide what's necessary to provide a suitable education and fund it. In practice, the state makes do and more of the same is planned in 2017. Spend too much on schools and you can't cut the income tax. From the Post:

Why are states still spending less than they were in 2008? Some states have been slow to recover from the recession, and they have had to deal with rising enrollments and rising costs at the same time as federal education aid dipped, according to the report. But Leachman pointed out that several states with the largest decreases in school spending — such as Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Wisconsin — also have cut income taxes in recent years, giving up revenue that could be used for education.

State tax dollars account for nearly half of education funding nationwide, so the decline in state funding has left many localities with a difficult choice: Raise local taxes, cut services and lay off teachers, or both. Leachman said that even when localities try to raise revenue, they often aren’t able to make up for lost state dollars.
That's us. 

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