Report: Idaho’s K-12 cuts were second steepest in nation

K-12 budgets in recession
Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Idaho’s recession-era education budget cuts were the second steepest in the nation, according to a national study released last week.

When state budgets are adjusted for inflation, Idaho cut per-pupil K-12 spending by 22.6 percent from 2008 to 2014, according to the Washington, D.C-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Education budget cuts were commonplace during the recession, according to the report, occurring in 35 states. Arizona made the deepest cuts, coming in at 36.6 percent per pupil.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report had some other grim news:

  • While much of the study focused only on state K-12 funding — and not local funding — Idaho fared little better when local tax dollars were inserted into the equation. From 2008 to 2014, Idaho’s state and local K-12 funding dropped by 21.3 percent; only Florida and Arizona made deeper cuts. Idaho’s cuts occurred despite a significant increase in locally passed supplemental property tax levies during the downturn.
  • Idaho is among 23 states still playing catchup from the recession. When budgets are adjusted for inflation, and the state’s enrollment growth, this year’s state K-12 budget is down 8.5 percent per-pupil from 2008.
  • Even Idaho’s 2017 K-12 budget failed to keep pace with inflation and enrollment growth — despite a 7.4 percent increase from 2016. Idaho’s per-pupil spending still dropped by 1.1 percent — and Idaho was among 19 states that made cuts from 2016.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities describes itself as a nonpartisan organization that pursues “federal and state policies designed both to reduce poverty and inequality and to restore fiscal responsibility in equitable and effective ways.”