Public Education is a Priority

Public education remains the top spending priority for state dollars in the current budget, accounting for 41.5 percent of all state spending. Public education is the single-largest spending category of state dollars, by more than $10 billion. Over the last ten years, total education spending – including federal, state and local funds – has nearly doubled, growing faster than enrollment growth and inflation, according to a report by the Comptroller of Public Accounts.

In addition to the increases in direct expenditures, school debt is approaching crisis levels: currently, taxpayers owe $63.6 billion in public school bond debt, which amounts to $13,530 for every student in a school with debt. By comparison, 2011 public education expenditures per pupil total $11,218. According to the Comptroller, from 2001 to 2011, public school districts' total debt outstanding rose by 155.2 percent, far more than the increase in inflation (26.5 percent) and enrollment growth (21 percent).

Fiscal Size-up:

Comptroller's report on public education debt: