The slow pace of America’s economic recovery means many states are still hurting financially. As many as 15 states still can’t agree on a budget, and that’s a problem, because in many states the fiscal year begins next month.
Parents are understandably anxious about what this all means for the upcoming school year. And they should be. An analysis released earlier this month by the National Governors Association and National Association of State Budget Officers found that 16 states are planning cuts for next year, following 18 that made extra cuts midway through last year. And that’s before cuts at the local level. So even though fear about the education budget axe never matches the reality, there will be real sacrifices in some states and communities and, overall, spending remains below what it was just a few years ago.
Unfortunately school districts and states are more tight-fisted about sharing information than they are about spending money. And too often budget cuts are based more on what’s easiest for the adults in charge of the schools rather than the kids in them. So here are 5 things parents should know — or ask — about the spending decisions and how they will impact schools next fall.