AASA Economic Study Captures Education Budgets, Calls for Scaling up Investments in Public Schools



James Minichello
703-774-6953 (cell)

Alexandria, Va. – (Nov. 21, 2013) – AASA, The School Superintendents Association, today released Unequal Pain: Federal Public Education Revenues, Federal Education Cuts and the Impact on Public Schools. The latest installment in AASA’s Economic Impact Series, this report examines the most recent set of comprehensive data on education revenues for school districts across the nation.

In the wake of sequestration—the mandatory across-the-board budget cuts in federal education funding—Unequal Pain observes that districts and states have been disproportionately reliant on funding from the U.S. government. Examining the operating budgets of schools for FY2011 (the 2011-2012 school year), AASA found that federal dollars, on average, reached 11.8 percent of their revenues.

According to the report:

  • More than 25 percent of schools had operating budgets in which federal revenues represented more than 15 percent of their total budgets.
  • More than six percent of schools had operating budgets in which federal funds represented 25 percent or more of their total budget revenues.
  • More than half of local educational agencies (LEAs) in 21 states had operating budgets in which the federal share of revenues was above the national average (11.8 percent).
  • More than half of LEAs in 14 states had operating budgets in which the federal share was more than 15 percent.

Federal education revenues have historically represented a small portion of overall K-12 education spending (8-9 percent). Though the nation’s recession has ended, federal dollars continue to represent an above average (11.8 percent) share of education funding. As a way of illustrating the varying depth of federal dollars in school districts across the nation, AASA partnered with ProximityOne to generate a map showing—at the state, congressional district, and school district levels—the share of federal revenue in school budgets.

“Investing in our nation’s future through education will translate into improving student achievement, shrinking achievement gaps and increasing high school graduation rates,” said Daniel A. Domenech, executive director, AASA. “If our country is serious about successfully competing in a 21st century global economy and bringing down unemployment rates, we need to focus on and prioritize investing in education. The findings in this report illustrate the importance of funding key federal education programs, such as Title I and IDEA.”

“Education funding is not only one of the most effective strategies to stabilizing a fragile economic reality, it is also one of the surest ways to build and bolster future capacity,” said Noelle Ellerson, associate executive director, policy & advocacy, AASA.

The final FY11 and FY12 appropriations agreements cut $1.5 billion in education programs. Beyond these reductions, the sequester cuts another $2.4 billion from education programs, not including $401 million from Head Start. These rounds of cuts come at the same time that public school enrollment is increasing.

Download a copy of Unequal Pain [pdf]. For specific questions about the report, please contact Noelle Ellerson, AASA associate executive director, policy & advocacy at nellerson@aasa.org or 703-774-6935.



 About AASA

AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 10,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit www.aasa.org. Follow AASA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AASAHQ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AASApage.

About ProximityOne

As described on its website, Proximity One “…works to develop, provide access to, and analyze ‘resources to create and apply insight.’ Their geographic-demographic-economic data and analytical tools help clients knit together and use diverse data in a decision-making and analytical framework. Their demographic-economic estimates and projections help clients better understand the current situation/area characteristics and how areas of interest might change in the future. They offer geocoding tools and services to geocode address data that can then be visually analyzed in maps and otherwise to facilitate impact and geospatial analyses. For further information, please visit the ProximityOne K-12 page and the School District Finances page.