Education spending hits the wall

Many years of growth in education spending and hiring “came to a grinding halt” in 2009-10, writes Education Intelligence Agency, after looking at the annual U.S. Census report and U.S. Department of Education data.

Per-pupil spending grew by 1.1 percent, less than the inflation rate. Enrollment grew by only 3,800 students nationwide; the K-12 teaching ranks fell by 38,000.

Fourteen states cut per-pupil spending in 2009-10: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Washington. However, eight states  — Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota and West Virginia — hired more teachers, despite declining enrollment.

EIA’s a table of the 50 states looks at enrollment, hiring and labor costs (not adjusted for inflation) over a five-year period.

From 2005 to 2010, student enrollment increased a cumulative 0.3 percent, while the K-12 teacher workforce increased 3.8 percent. Per-pupil spending increased 22 percent (about 9.3% after correcting for inflation). Spending on education employee salaries and benefits increased 22.3 percent.

EIA predicts that growth in education budgets will lag behind an economy recovery, just as cuts lagged behind the recession.

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