Making Sense of K-12 Funding
Memorandum 1130, October 2014
The current political debate seems fixated, at times, on the issue of state funding for public K-12 schools. Specifically, claims and counterclaims have been leveled about whether state funding has increased or decreased in recent years. Although disputes over public education finances are nothing new, recent changes in the way the state allocates funds to local school districts has created confusion and has fueled the present debate. These changes have made it more difficult to provide straightforward, simple answers to questions about school funding. Today, accurate and comprehensive responses to questions about school funding require additional explanation, much more than may have been required in the past.
This Memorandum answers three fundamental questions surrounding the issue of school funding. 1) Is school funding up or down compared to four years ago? 2) Over this period, has funding gone up as much as it could have? 3) Are individual school districts better off today than they were four years ago?