Government Spending for Education Drops for First Time on Record
Monday, June 25, 2012
In yet another ominous sign that the Great Recession is threatening the future, a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that in 2010 public school system spending declined by 0.4 percent, a small decrease to be sure, but this marks the first time since the Census Bureau began publishing annual school system finance statistics in 1977 that expenditures by public school systems decreased from the prior year. It is the equivalent of eating our society’s seed-corn.
Public school systems received $593.7 billion in funding in 2010, up 0.5 percent from the prior year, but total expenditures by public school systems were $602.6 billion, a 0.4 percent decrease from 2009. Total school system debt increased by 1.9 percent to $406.9 billion.
Public schools are funded locally, by the states and by the federal government. In 2010, local funding accounted for $261.4 billion (44.0%), state sources contributed $258.2 billion (43.5%), and federal sources provided the remaining $74.0 billion (12.5%).
Budget crises in many states were at the root of the drop. Revenue from state sources decreased in 2010 by $18.0 billion, or 6.5%, from 2009, which itself saw a 1.7% decline from 2008. 2009 and 2010 were the only two years in the prior 33 that state funding decreased from the prior year.
The only reason that funding for public schooling did not crater is that the Obama administration, seeking to offset the state declines, increased federal spending by $18.1 billion, a 32.5% rise from 2009 and the largest increase in federal funding since 1977.
To Learn More:
Public Education Finances: 2010 (by Mark Dixon, United States Census Bureau)
D.C. Leads Nation as U.S. Per Pupil Tops $10,600, Census Bureau Reports (Press Release, United States Census Bureau)
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