A new study of K-12 education funding in the United States finds that Kansas had the eighth largest cut in per pupil funding between 2008 and 2014.
Only 14 states increased funding over that time after adjusting for inflation, and all nine states that outperform Kansas on KASB’s State Education Report Card are in that group. This means the nine highest performing states in the nation are all among the 14 states that increased per pupil spending the most since the Great Recession began in 2008.
KASB’s report card ranks states on 15 indicators of student success, including national test scores, graduation rates and postsecondary preparation, participation and completion, for students and subgroups. Only nine states have a higher overall ranking than Kansas. KASB identifies these as “aspiration states” because they exceed Kansas on overall education outcomes.
All nine aspiration states spend more per pupil than Kansas, and all nine increased state and local funding more than inflation since 2008, according to the study from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a national think tank.
The CBPP study found Kansas per pupil funding declined by 14.2 percent since 2008 after adjusting for inflation. According to the KASB data from the Kansas State Department of Education, unadjusted per pupil funding in Kansas is higher than 2008, but those increases have been less than the total increase in the consumer price index over that period.
KASB’s education report card contains similar data, but does not adjust for inflation. It found that the “aspiration states” increased total funding for pupil much more than Kansas since 2008.
The report card found that although Kansas continues to rank high in achievement, has not been improving as fast as most other states on education measures over the past decade. Although most Kansas educational outcomes have improved, they have not improved as much as many other states. Over the same period, although Kansas school funding has increased in dollar amounts, it has not increased as much as most other states.
The CBPP report confirms these school funding trends, showing that Kansas per pupil funding has fallen behind both inflation and most other states.
Because jobs and income levels are increasingly linked to education levels, state with the best educational outcomes are likely to have the best economic outcomes. The data shows that the highest achieving states are also among the states that have invested in most in education.