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Lack of Funding for Education: school cuts

Updated on January 4, 2012
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Lack of Funding for Education

“Monday night the Huntington County Community Schools board approved sweeping cuts to close a two-million dollar budget deficit. The district will close Horace Mann Elementary School and move grades six through eight from Salamonie to Riverview Middle School. The vice president of the school board blames the budget deficit on declining enrollment and reduced funding from the state” (WANE News Channel 15, 2011, par 1).

Funding for education has been a big topic for the past decade and lately headlines like those above are common especially in Indiana. As of September 2010 over 58,000 teachers and other education workers have lost their jobs due to short fall in the budget (Delaney 2010). Northeast Indiana (which consists of 14 counties) has closed over 15 schools from elementary to high school to make up for shortages in funding. States are lacking the proper funds to support the growing demand and cost of education; therefore systems must cut school programs, layoff teachers, and close schools in order to stay within budget.

Types of Funding

Funding for schooling in Indiana mostly come from taxes and government grants. Taxes do not cover the school budget alone. The state does receive money from lottery sales, but it only makes up a small percent. Government competitive grants is what keeps Indiana schools going and usually the grants fall short. There is a big problem trying to making the state budget when states rely on grants. The amount of the grants may vary from year to year, approval of the grants may happen after a state approves the budget, the payment of the grant may vary, and schools do not know when they will receive the grants (Committee for Education Funding, 2011).

Reasons for Lack of Funding

Indiana faces a $300 million in reduction in state funding due to a slow economy. When the economy is slow it reduces the amount of sales tax, in return reducing income for the state. This then causes school districts to find ways to cut expenses by closing schools, eliminating educational programs and cutting jobs. One local Indiana school district cut special education programs and teachers; another cut all music and band programs.

The Fort Wane Community School System has cut all assistant principals to save money and to conform to the Race to the Top. It's a national funding program that demands schools reform and show visible results, like boosting student achievement and making teachers more accountable. To qualify for those funds, the district must submit a plan which involves major changes in how the schools are run. The problem is, a lot of schools are having trouble reaching the goals of the program because of lack of funding and then miss out on those funds.

Another reason for funding problems is an increase of school enrolment without a proper increase (see appendix for chart on enrollment increases). Enrolment in 1993 was under 44,000 for the U.S. In 2010 enrolment was 50,000, and by 2020 it is estimated school enrolments will be well over 55,000. The problem is that the funding is not keeping up with the increase in school enrollments. Most states are cutting funding because of lack of revenue. The U.S. governments also reduced funding from 2010 to 2011. In 2010 education made up 13% of the total U.S. budget and in 2011 education made up 12% of the budget (Committee for Education Funding, 2011).

Conclusion

There are several reasons education is lacking funds. This funding shortage is coming both from the national and state levels. It is due to a slow economy that decreases the government’s revenue. It is also due to an increase of students enrolling in school. When states fall short on funding they look to the national government to fund education from grants. Grants are inconsistent and may require special agreements to receive the grant. For instance states that have demonstrated success in raising student achievement may receive a special grant, while other schools who fail to meet standers will not. This is why grants can become complicated and mixed with a slow economy; education funding will take a long time to meet educational demands.

References

Committee for Education Funding,( 2011) Budget response fiscal year 2011retrived from http://www.cef.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/Budget-Response-FY-11-final2.pdf

Delaney A. 2010 States lay off 58,000 teachers in September despite $26 billion aid package, The Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/08/states-lay-off-58000- teac_n_755965.html

WANE NewsChannel 15 (2011) Many questions surround school closing: Huntington Co. will close Horace Mann ElementaryUpdated: Tuesday, 10 May, 5:28 PM EDT retrieved from http://www.wane.com/dpp/news/local/many-questions-surround-school-closing

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