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, 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.”


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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