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ERIC Number: ED570392
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 56
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card. Fourth Edition
Baker, Bruce D.; Sciarra, David G.; Farrie, Danielle
Education Law Center
While the United States was recovering from the recent economic stress caused by the Great Recession, individual state economies were improving at a slow pace. In 2012, state education budgets came to a crossroads, as most states had exhausted their allocations of federal stimulus dollars. Prior editions of this report noted how many states used stimulus funds distributed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to support the state's share of education funding from 2009 through 2011. One study shows that many states used the stimulus funds to offset cuts in state education aid, effectively filling holes in their overall state budgets. The data in this Fourth Edition show that by 2012, most states had failed to restore state aid to pre-Recession levels or to otherwise close education budget gaps that resulted when stimulus funds were depleted. In fact, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports that at least 30 states are providing less state aid (inflation adjusted) per student in 2015 compared to 2008. Local revenues also suffered in the aftermath of the recession because of declining property values. Even when property values do improve, revenue gains often lag behind by years. As this report documents, states have yet to make progress in restoring cuts triggered by the recession, let alone meet their responsibility to fund at levels sufficient to ensure all students an equal opportunity to learn. This failure directly impacts local districts and schools as they struggle without the funds necessary to provide essential resources and meet student needs. Even as school funding has yet to rebound to pre-Recession levels, states are adopting the more challenging Common Core curriculum standards and assessments, and these mandates come with added cost. This National Report Card shines a spotlight on those states that, despite the effects of the Recession, are making the effort to provide fair school funding. The report also highlights those states that have not responded despite the recovery, and continue to fall behind. A conversation on how the states finance public education is long overdue and urgently needed. The hope is that this report contributes to the national dialogue on achieving the goal of preparing children for college and career. Appended are: (1) Data and Methodology; (2) National Child Poverty Rates; and (3) Fairness Measures and Resource Allocation Indicators. [For the third edition, see ED570455.]
Education Law Center. 60 Park Place Suite 300, Newark, NJ 07102. Tel: 973-624-1815; Fax: 973-624-7339; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: Parents; Policymakers; Teachers; Community
Language: English
Sponsor: Educational Testing Service
Authoring Institution: Education Law Center; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Graduate School of Education
Identifiers - Location: United States