A majority of state governments have cut funding to K-12 schools this year as they struggle to balance their budgets without the $100 billion infusion from the federal stimulus that has now dried up.
Illinois, Kansas, Texas and Wisconsin have cut overall funding by more than 10 percent since the last fiscal year, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Thirty states are now funding their schools with lower budgets than they had in 2008 (measured in inflation-adjusted dollars), even though school populations have grown. Arizona, California, Hawaii and South Carolina are leading the way, having cut per-student funds by more than 20 percent since 2008.
About half of all K-12 education funding comes from states, so teachers and schools are already feeling the impact of these cuts. The number of local education jobs decreased by 115,000 between September 2010 and September 2011, according to the report. Since September 2008, schools have eliminated 278,000 jobs.
President Obama claims his proposed $447 billion jobs act would save 400,000 educator jobs over the next year, but Republican lawmakers oppose its passage.