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Behind Oklahoma, Texas Has Made Deepest Cuts To State Education Funding In Past Decade

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

A report finds that Texas is among the states that have made the deepest funding cuts to K-12 education over the past decade.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says Texas has cut general funding per student by 16 percent since the 2007-2008 school year when the Great Recession hit.

The center highlighted 12 states that have made the biggest cuts in education funding.

“All twelve of these states are still providing at least 7 percent less formula aid per student in the current school year than in 2008,” said Michael Leachman, the center’s director of state fiscal research and one of the study’s authors. “Four of these states have cut formula funding per student by more than 15 percent: Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky and Alabama.”

Formula funding, also known as general funding, is how states distribute money to school districts, and every state has its own formula.

Oklahoma is at the top of that list, having cut state education funding by 28 percent since before the recession hit.

"Four of these states have cut formula funding per student by more than 15 percent: Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky and Alabama."

A significant share of education funding for schools comes from the state. That’s why, Leachman said, school districts end up having to make cuts or raise their tax rates.

He said state budget cuts hurt not only students, but also the local economy.

“As of September 2017, local school districts had cut a total of 135,000 jobs since 2008,” Leachman said. “These job losses have reduced the purchasing power of workers families, in turn reducing overall economic consumption and that has made the recovery take longer.”

Leachman said Texas is among a few states that have been hurt by falling oil prices thus giving state lawmakers less money to spend. Some states, including Texas, also made large tax cuts post recession.

Download a complete copy of this report and read more coverage about school funding cuts in Texas.

Credit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.