Graph of the Day: State support for schools has fallen while enrollment rises

NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect slightly revised numbers in state aid funding for FY 2008 and FY 2012. The text has been corrected to correspond.

The FY 2013 budget agreement announced yesterday provides no increase in state aid for public schools. The Legislature did provide additional dollars to ensure that health benefits for teachers and support staff would be fully funded in 2013, along with bonuses for Board-certified teachers. However, the  General Appropriations Bill, SB 1975,  appropriates $1.816 billion for FY 2013 in funding that gets distributed to school districts through the state aid formula  to pay salaries and general operating expenses.   This is the same amount as in FY ’12.

As can be seen from the graph below, the proposed flat funding for public schools in 2013 follows three straight years of cuts in state aid. Since FY 2009, state aid funding has declined by $221 million, or 10.8 percent. Since the 2007-08 school year, public school enrollment has increased by  24,429 students. This equates to a 14 percent decrease in state support per student, from $3,163 to $2,726. In addition, since the beginning of 2008, inflation has boosted the overall costs of goods and services by 9 percent.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi requested an increase of $78.2 million in state aid funding for FY 2013 to return to FY 2011 levels. More recently, parents and educators had urged the Legislature to boost state aid funding by $50 million to avert further teacher layoffs and loss of programs. The failure to provide any additional money to support schools despite allocating $33 million for cuts to the top income rate, is sure to be regarded by many as a grave instance of misplaced priorities.


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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