States' large cuts in spending on education have "serious consequences" for the economy, in both the short and long term.
Photo by Courtesy Love Krittaya
Mississippi is spending $628 less per student than the state spent in 2008. That's a 12.9 percent decrease in a four-year period, according to analysis by the Mississippi Center for Economic Policy.
The Mississippi trend line is consistent with a nationwide spate of smaller public-school budgets going into the current academic year. The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed state education spending across the nation and concluded that cuts made at the onset of the Great Recession accelerated in the past year.
The center's report, "New School Year Brings More Cuts in State Funding for Schools," examines the immediate and long-term effects of school cuts. States' large cuts in spending on education have "serious consequences" for the economy, in both the short and long term. Not only do they directly impact jobs, but they also counteract and sometimes undermine important state education-reform initiatives, and put upward pressure on local property taxes," wrote researchers Phil Oliff, Chris Mai and Michael Leachman, who prepared the report.
In 26 states, elementary and high schools will get less money than they received last year and 35 states will fund education below 2008 levels, the report found. A few states have started to replace the funding, but not at a rate that will make up for the cuts over the years.
"At a time when the nation is trying to produce workers with the skills to master new technologies and adapt to the complexities of a global economy, large cuts in funding for basic education undermine a crucial building block for future prosperity," the CBPP authors wrote.
In Mississippi, cuts could mean that local school districts have to lay off workers, cut pay and raise taxes to meet budget shortfalls, the MEPC concluded, which could be perilous to the state's economy.
"As a result of these consequences, consumer demand is removed from the economy (workers have reduced purchasing power due to job loss/reduced salary), which then discourages businesses from making new investments we can place in our schools and our children--the future of Mississippi," the MEPC analysis states.