How Do We Fund Education? (by Guest Blogger Kristin Saito)

KristinSummer2012As the costs of housing, food, and apparel continue to increase, so does the cost of education. Over the past decade, education funding in the state of Washington has gone from just under 50% of the state’s budget to just above 40% and the overall budget for state funding in 2012 was cut by $300 million.

In January 2012, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that the state is not meeting its constitutional obligations to amply pay for basic education. In December 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the state legislature is not making enough progress toward finding more money for K-12 education. The Supreme Court told the Legislature that more progress will need to have been made after finishing their work in the spring of 2013, and that they have until 2018 to fix the problem, however they want to see yearly reports that demonstrate steady progress.

Democrats feel that Republicans will not be receptive to tax increases that will increase the states income and help fund education; meanwhile Republicans feel that Democrats are the roadblock to getting any work done because they are too focused on tax increases that nobody wants to consider (http://www.oregonlive.com/education/index.ssf/2012/12/washington_supreme_court_legis.html).

The piece of information that stood out to me the most in this article was that education funding in the state of Washington has dropped from just under 50% of the state’s budget to just above 40% and that the overall budget had to be cut by $300 million in 2012. Not only has the funding for education been dropping steadily, in one year alone, the state’s budget had to be cut by $300 million.

If we apply this statistic vaguely at the national level, it would indicate that the overall budget for expenses is being decreased, which would inevitably lead to a decrease in education funding as well. With this being clearly not the case, as the debt ceiling is continuously being raised and with our U.S. public debt currently at $16,394,000,000,000 (http://www.usdebtclock.org), this would mean that your Federal Government is cutting your local/state spending, which in turn is cutting the funding for local/state education, while increasing their own spending on what they see as necessary.

This has left the Washington State Legislature to have to decide between raising taxes on their own, and between finding places to “cut out the fat” in other budgets, in order to fund their education according to their constitutional obligations.

How much will we allow the Federal Government to add to our debt, while cutting our budgets, before we stand up demand that our voices be heard?

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One thought on “How Do We Fund Education? (by Guest Blogger Kristin Saito)

  1. We see this time and time again, this top down prioritizing of budgets. Feds fund there own by cutting at the state level, States fund their own by cutting at the county level and then Counties take care of themselves and let the municipalities figure it out on their own.

    Nice post. It was a good read.

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