Bringing the Economy Home

Any Way You Slice It, Idaho Education Spending Cuts Are Near The Top

LexnGer / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho Statesman’s latest editorial is in response to two stories StateImpact posted on Idaho’s education funding cuts.

The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities released a report last week that shows education cuts in Idaho have been among the deepest in the nation over the last five years.

CBPP’s report finds per-student spending in Idaho has dropped 19 percent since 2008. Just three states have cut more.

But the Idaho Department of Education says CBPP’s measurement isn’t accurate.  The department says per-student spending has dropped nearly 12 percent. That’s just looking at fiscal years 2008 to 2011.

CBPP’s method accounts for inflation.  The Department of Education’s method does not.

Here’s what the Statesman writes:

“By no means is Idaho alone. As the report points out, 35 states cut per-pupil spending over the past five years, and 26 reduced this spending from 2011-12 to 2012-13. What is troubling is the fact that, according to this report, Idaho’s cuts were among the deepest in the nation — and continued, to a lesser degree, even when the economy showed signs of improvement.

These are the kind of decisions that keep Idaho’s per-pupil spending holding firm at No. 50 in the nation.

State schools superintendent Tom Luna’s office disputes the report’s math. Spokeswoman Melissa McGrath tells StateImpact Idaho that per-pupil spending dropped nearly 12 percent from 2008 to 2011.

That isn’t much of an improvement.” – Idaho Statesman

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ranked the 50 states in order of which states cut per-student spending the most.  By their measure, Idaho is at number four.  By the Idaho Department of Education’s measure, the state is still in the top half, at number 12.


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