Graph of the Day: Common education receiving dwindling share of state budget

This year’s state budget provided no additional dollars for common education, even as total state appropriations grew by 3.2 percent.  Over the past four years, state support for common education has fallen 11.4 percent while public school enrollment has grown by 25,000 students. In part, the decline in state education funding reflects the overall drop in state appropriations that accompanied the economic downturn and full phase-in of the tax cuts of the mid-2000’s. But as can be seen from this graph, common education’s slice of the overall pie is shrinking:

In FY 2013, just 34.1 percent of total appropriations goes to common education. This is the lowest share since at least FY 2000 (and likely the lowest share since 1992 when HB 1017 was implemented). In FY 2004, common education received 38.2 percent of total state funding and in FY 2008, just before the downturn, it received 35.9 percent.

These numbers likely understate the situation because they do not take into account the income tax revenues that previously went to the General Revenue Fund and now go directly to the ROADS fund. This fund, created in FY 2006, will receive $297 million in FY 2013; if that amount was added to the $6,825 million appropriated budget, common education’s share of the budget drops to 32.7 percent.


Former Executive Director David Blatt joined OK Policy in 2008 and served as its Executive Director from 2010 to 2019. He previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.

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