Idaho K-12 cuts: more grim statistics

Idaho wound up atop an unenviable list Tuesday: The state’s recession-era school budget cuts were the steepest in the nation.

That’s the summary from a blog post by Ben Casselman, a writer at FiveThirtyEight.com, a website housed by ESPN and founded by former New York Times analyst Nate Silver.

Idaho’s K-12 per-pupil spending dropped by 12.3 percent from 2008-09 to 2011-12, when adjusted for inflation. The national average was a 5.5 percent per-pupil spending cut.

This isn’t the first report to chronicle the depth of Idaho’s recession-era budget cuts. In September, the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found Idaho’s K-12 cuts were fifth deepest in the nation. That report looked at spending over a six-year range, from 2007-08 to 2013-14, and calculated Idaho’s inflation-adjusted cuts at 15.9 percent per pupil.

Casselman identified one trend: The states already spending less per pupil tended to cut K-12 more severely during the downturn. “States that spend less per student, such as Idaho, Utah and many Southern states, have made significantly bigger cuts (on a percentage basis) than states, such as New York and Connecticut, that spend more.”