Monday, January 27, 2014

What's driving K-12 school costs?

New York’s annual budget battles over state aid to public education have taken on a new urgency in the wake of the Great Recession and the 2011 enactment of a law empowering local voters to cap property taxes. Education spending advocates are emphasizing local budget constraints they say have been created by the tax cap and by Governor Cuomo’s limit on school aid increases. The statewide teachers’ union has even gone so far as to assert that the governor and Legislature “have put New Yorkers on a starvation diet.”1

Public schools statewide retrenched, eliminating thousands of staff positions in the four years following the economic downturn, yet their expenses continued rising at a pace few could sustain. The latest State Education Department (SED) data highlight two important trends:

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