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Most States Have Cut School Funding, and Some Continue Cutting

State Funding

In a survey of state budget documents, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found most states provide less support per student for elementary and secondary schools than before the Great Recession. The survey also found some states have continued cutting funding eight years after the recession took hold.

Using the most up-to-date data available on state and local funding for schools, the survey found that, after adjusting for inflation:

  • At least 31 states provided less state funding per student in the 2013-14 school year than in the 2007-08 school year, before the recession took hold.  In at least 15 states, the cuts exceeded 10 percent.
  • In at least 18 states, local government funding per student fell over the same period. In at least 27 states, local funding rose, but those increases rarely made up for cuts in state support. Total local funding nationally ― for the states where comparable data exist ― declined between 2008 and 2014.
  • While data on total school funding for the 2015-16 school year is not yet available, at least 25 states have continued to provide less “general” or “formula” funding ― the primary form of state funding for schools ― per student than in 2008. In seven states, the cuts exceed 10 percent.
  • Most states raised “general” funding per student slightly for the 2015-16 school year, but 12 states imposed new cuts.

Leachman, M., Albares, N., Masterson, K., & Wallace, M. (2016). Most States Have Cut School Funding, and Some Continue Cutting. Washington, DC: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Retrieved from

Also tagged under: National Funding Resources & Needs