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CA Education Spending Down Almost 14 Percent Since 2008

Chase Niesner | September 12, 2013

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Per-student spending (Center on Budget Priorities)California is among the top 10 states with the sharpest declines in spending for K-12 education since the last recession, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The study found that California’s per-student spending was down 13.8 percent since the 2008 school year.

In all, 34 states are spending less on K-12 education than before the recession hit, including 13 that have cut per-student spending by more than 10 percent.

Apart from requiring school districts to roll back education services and look elsewhere for funding, the state spending cuts deepened the recession and slowed the pace of economic recovery by reducing the overall number of teachers and other employees, the study said. Further, it said, through last month local school districts had cut a total of 324,000 jobs since 2008, which in turn reduced family purchasing power and overall spending.

The inability of states to undertake critical school reform initiatives, like recruiting better teachers and trimming class sizes, was also cited as having long-term negative consequences for the nation’s economic competitiveness.

Though schools in California have experienced significant improvements in their finances in the past two years due to the passage of Proposition 30 in 2012, many other states continue to be plagued by cuts to their K-12 education funding. In 15 states, per-student funding is lower in the current fiscal year than it was just a year ago, the study said.

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