Magazine article Techniques

Future Focus: Budget Woes Easing for Some States, but Others Still Face Steep Challenges

Magazine article Techniques

Future Focus: Budget Woes Easing for Some States, but Others Still Face Steep Challenges

Article excerpt

As many states continue to struggle with budget deficits, education programs at the K-12 and postsecondary levels continue to suffer cuts. Eleven states made cuts in K-12 education for fiscal year 2004, following nine in 2003, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). State school spending per-pupil has declined in 34 states since 2002 and the effects of these declines include new or higher fees for textbooks and courses, shorter school days, reduced personnel, and reduced transportation. The National Association of State Budget Officers predicts that districts may have to take additional measures to meet budget cuts by targeted cutbacks including delaying school start dates; reducing pay for substitute teachers; and reducing programs that are considered non-essential like those for troubled youth. States may also encourage cities, towns and school districts to streamline programs by consolidating administrative costs and other expenditures. Other possible measures districts might take include: increasing elementary school class sizes; scaling back school field trips and sports programs; using professional volunteers to teach K-12; and putting competency testing and written tests on hold.

Higher education

Higher education too has been affected by budget cuts. States throughout the country are cutting postsecondary spending leading to double-digit increases in college and university tuition, and reduced course offerings. NASBO states that some additional measures that may be taken to meet the budget gaps include: suspending college scholarships programs; providing fewer and bigger classes; eliminating student subsidies; and using more teacher assistants instead of faculty in classrooms. …

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